Sir Martin Sorrell - promotor of newspapers and magazines

Submitted by: Ulbe Jelluma 02/04/2015

Martin Sorrell, Chairman of WPP and probably the most important ad man around made a very interesting point last week during a breakfast session at the Broadcasting Press Guild. He said: "There's an argument at the moment going on about the effectiveness of newspapers and magazines, even in their traditional form, and maybe they are more effective than people give them credit( for)". This is a U-turn on previous presentations made by him. His argument has been that newspapers and magazines generate a disproportionate share of advertising revenues compared to the time consumers spend with these channels. As argued on our website this argument does not include the difference in value of somebody reading an ad in print vs online. Which in turn is translated into a higher rate for print media. Sorrell now states that he has seen some "interesting data" that shows higher consumer engagement levels with newspapers and magazines, as well as their ability to generate more attention and focus, which means readers are likely to retain information.

Martin Sorrell, Chairman of WPP and probably the most important ad man around made a very interesting point last week during a breakfast session at the Broadcasting Press Guild. He said: "There's an argument at the moment going on about the effectiveness of newspapers and magazines, even in their traditional form, and maybe they are more effective than people give them credit( for)". This is a U-turn on previous presentations he made. His argument has been that newspapers and magazines generate a disproportionate share of advertising investments compared to the time spend with these channels. As argued on our website this argument does not include the difference in value of somebody reading an ad in print vs online.  Sorrell now states that he has seen some "interesting data" that shows higher consumer engagement levels with newspapers and magazines, as well as their ability to generate more attention and focus, which means readers are likely to retain information.

The research points at the fact that "some of the traditional media are probably more retentive and engaging" than online and mobile. And this applies to both "advertising and content". "In a way it's logical, if the average reader spends 40 minutes with a newspaper, it's probable that the memory will retain things". 

Referring to his earlier presentations he explained his U-turn by stating that a number of people find this analysis of time vs money spend to too superficial. And he argued that its time to focus on engagement vs investment. Which was also his advice to marketers, look at the engagement levels and then assess whether the investment levels are correct.

It is great to see that one of the most important advertising groups in the world revalues print media. As WPP is increasingly generating revenues via digital media, (now representing close to 40 per cent), and via its media buying agencies representing a major share of the advertising investments, this move can have sizeable consequences.