Letters, May 5, 2008

Published on .

Not all network news shows saw drop

Brian Steinberg's April 28 article "The End of Network News as We Know It?" failed to touch upon several important facts.

A combined audience of more than 23 million people tune in to ABC, CBS and NBC's evening news broadcasts every night -- still a vast audience given the myriad other news options available today.

The article also neglected to mention that ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson" was the only evening newscast to grow its total viewing audience in 2007, increasing 4% year to year.

It's simply inaccurate and misleading to lump our gains in with the "collective" loss experienced at the other networks.

The landscape of the evening news certainly is changing, and we are adapting accordingly. From our afternoon "World News" webcast to content available 24/7 on abcnews.com, we are accessible to our audience wherever and whenever they want, be it on TV, a computer, a cellphone or iPod.

Mr. Steinberg is, of course, welcome to his opinions, but he should not cast aside important facts that undermine his analysis of evening-news audiences.
Jon Banner
Executive Producer
ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson"
New York

Editor's note: There was no opinion stated in the article. The article used statistics and information culled from a Project for Excellence in Journalism report, Nielsen Monitor-Plus and the Tyndall Report, as well as comments from media buyers and Wall Street analysts. The 5% drop between 2006 and 2007 was clearly identified as a collective drop and is an accurate reflection of long-term trends. Advertising Age stands by its reporting.

ROI-measurement tech already exists

RE: "Another Piece That Aims to Solve ROI Puzzle." The story is shocking not only for the statements it contains, but for the very fact that it is published without any seeming understanding of how the TV-advertising industry has worked for decades. Newsflash to Publicis, TRA and Advertising Age: "Technology that matches the advertising households receive with the products those households actually buy" already exists. It's known as TV, 800 numbers and the internet; or as just about anyone in TV ad sales could tell you, "direct-response TV."

Marketers utilizing direct-response TV advertising know the sales results and the ROI their commercials drive immediately. Not only are marketers achieving front-end sales by way of DRTV, they are also building customer databases and driving sales in a variety of other channels, most notably the internet and at bricks-and-mortar retail.
Tim O'Leary
R2C Group
Portland, Ore.

VDP one solution for newspaper woes

RE: "The Newspaper Death Watch." Newspapers must respond to advertisers' and readers' needs in the age of the internet while also embracing the future of publishing, which includes deploying digital color web presses capable of variable data printing.

Newspaper publishers must make print advertising targeted, trackable and integrated with the online experience.

Media buyers such as Renatta McCann of Starcom MediaVest have called for personalizing print ads and content for years. The problem and opportunity can only be resolved with VDP. Several digital color web presses have emerged that take digital printing closer to realizing the "personalized newspaper" on a mass scale.

One issue with digital printing is the "click fee" charged for each letter-size page (about 2ยข or more depending on equipment). Because of this click fee, the CPM display-advertising rate for a full-page color ad in a tabloid-size newspaper would run between $1,995 and $2,495 per thousand, a seemingly astronomical amount. But when you add the increased response rates of targeted advertising and the ability to offer each and every reader a customized display ad in every issue and every edition of a print run, the value weighs out well.

And let's not forget the readers. Offering subscribers the ability to customize editorial content in certain sections of a paper would be more like what the internet offers in RSS feeds. Readers would also enjoy getting the news and features they want along with ads delivering special geographic, promotional and discount offers designed just for them.
Edmund Dante Hamilton
Editor and publisher
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