Sorry, we could not find the combination you entered »
Please enter your email and we will send you an email where you can pick a new password.
Reset password:


Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - December 2011

The Non-Future of Advertising

Even if digital advertising budgets where to rise 500%, it would still not cover the cost of traditional media.

There is an ongoing discussion about the future of advertising. On one hand we have print advertising, which is in decline - in some places drastically. Many newspaper executives apparently believe the "worst is over" and that while it will continue to decline for 2-3 more years, it will eventually stabilize.

It won't...

Then we have online advertising, which is increasing. This sounds very good, but it isn't.

In this article, I am going to explain why advertising doesn't have a future for publishers. Partly because it has already passed the point of no return; the media just hasn't realized it yet.

Print advertising

Every single newspaper or magazine relies on advertising first to stay in business. Sure, they also have subscriptions and newsstand sales, but advertising makes up the bulk of the revenue.

For the New York Times, for instance, advertising makes up 60% of the total revenue (subscriptions/single copy sales make up 31%).

The problem of course is that print advertising revenue has declined dramatically over the past couple of years. The New York Times advertising revenue has dropped from $1.7 billion to $1.3 billion from 2008 to 2010 (25%). Vogue has dropped 48% from 2009 to 2011.

Of course it is not all bad. The Financial Times says that advertising decline has flat lined for most of 2011 after a catastrophic summer of 2010.

So ...maybe it will stabilize? Right? ....Please?

I'm sorry. It is too late for that, and here is why.

Who is buying the advertising? It's the brands. What do brands care about? Well, if you ask the CEO he would say *sales!!*. But if you ask the person actually buying the ads, the CMOs (marketing executives), most of them have no clue. They still believe that exposure equals sales.

For the past 100 years, marketing executives have been living a lie. They believe that when they buy a full page ad in a popular magazine, the numbers they are given are actually something useful.

This 22 page report is exclusive for subscribers. (login)

Try it free for one week

Register to try out Baekdal Plus completely for free for one week.

for just...
for just...
You get two months for free


Baekdal Plus is your premium destination for trends and analysis for the media industry. Every year you get 25 reports about the future media trends, business and editorial strategies, monetization analysis and insights about how to use analytics specifically for publishers.

As a subscriber, you also get full access to all the Plus reports (more than 200) published over the past 8 years, as well as the ability to share what you read.

I'm a company, can we pay via an invoice?

Yes, of course, please write to and I will send you a regular invoice that you can pay via your bank. I will need your company name, address and VAT number (if within the EU). Also, please note that due to this process being manual, this will be for an annual subscription only.

Is there an Enterprise Plan?

Yes, please write to for details. But for 25-99 users: the price is 20% off the subscription price ($79/year per user), 100+ users is a fixed price at $5,000 (for all combined).

Can you create a report just for us?

Yes, please head over to Baekdal Media to read about consulting where I can help you with strategy reviews, trend and strategy reports, and strategic guidance for you media company or a specific publication.



The Baekdal Plus Newsletter is the best way to be notified about the latest media reports, but it also comes with extra insights.

Get the newsletter

Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


—   monetization   —


How to design a cheaper news product?


In-depth media analysis: What should we do with media bundles?


Don't sell magazines. Sell what is in them


Why advertising and subscriptions are so hard to mix, but not impossible


How much should a newspaper or magazine cost? It's not the price that defines it


A guide to 'delayed subscription' models