Inflection points (2012)

Last week, Lauren Indvik at Mashable covered an emarketer projection of ad spending (online, print and television) through 2016.

The Mashable headline was (perhaps predictably) “Online ad spending to surpass print for the first time in 2012“. The study sees online ad spending increasing 23% to US$39.5 billion in 2012, then continuing to grow to US$62.0 billion in 2016.

What I found more interesting than the inflection point, though, was substantial overall growth in ad spending through 2016. Sure, this may turn out to be the year in which digital trumps print, but total ad spending is projected to grow from US$68.0 billion in 2011 to US$73.3 billion this year, an increase of 7.8%.

Even after several years of persistent declines, the expected spending on print advertising will total US$32.3 billion, while the total market grows 38% and exceeds US$94 billion.

Without spending too much time parsing a headline, maybe the lesson here is an extension of my earlier call for “either-and” publishing.

We live in a world that is increasingly digital-first, and certainly there are niches that are already digital-only. But there are still a lot of ways that advertisers are supporting existing and emerging print models.

I doubt that future models will be “print alone”, but the inflection point seems less important than the idea that advertisers appear ready to support publications (across media) for some time to come. That’s one of the reasons I’m interested in the work being done to develop and promote the nextPub specification.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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