Advertisers disintermediating newspapers, too

I wrote yesterday about content providers disintermediating newspapers. Advertisers are doing the same.

We’ve all heard about the effects that craigslist has had on the three pillars of the classified business: real estate, automotive and recruitment. Direct-to-consumer email poses a similar threat to Run-of-Print and insert advertising.

For a long time, newspapers have been the cheapest way to reach mass audiences for airlines, banks and retailers. They’re cheaper than direct mail. Email and the Web change all that.

Target took Easter Sunday off from its newspaper circular. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sale this week. You just have to go online to get it.

Target circular

The electronic circular has a number of advantages over the paper version:

The big advantage that the print product has is that it’s faster to flip through paper than clicking on page after page. But there’s opportunity there, too: one thing Target doesn’t do is customize the ad based on your purchase history.

Harris Teeter, a regional grocery store, does. Based on their VIC loyalty card program, they send a weekly email that highlights the products that you purchase.

There is one bright side for the newspaper industry in this: the company that powers most of the electronic circulars, ShopLocal, is owned by Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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