News brands and advertisers must get round the table

Print media brands and their advertisers have a rather dysfunctional relationship. Publications depend on advertising revenue to sustain their business models – an increasingly urgent issue when circulations are taking a hit from the rapid dissemination of online news and information. Advertisers, on the other hand, depend on there being strong news and magazine brands that can continue to draw in large audiences across all channels.

jonny bacon

Given this mutual dependence, it’s surprising that both sides are struggling to develop an effective relationship when it comes to digital advertising. A new study by Brand Perfect, a global project run by typeface agency Monotype, has found that 93 per cent of publications are failing to offer advertisers a complete multi-device experience. The report, which looked at 100 top consumer magazines in the UK, US and Germany, criticises “the fragmented nature of publishing channels today”.

Elsewhere, the report finds that only 25 per cent of English speaking magazines are optimised for tablets, with most publishers using scaled-down versions of their desktop sites instead. Although publishers would no doubt defend their digital credentials against these figures, there are signs that advertisers have their own concerns when it comes to working with print brands.

For example, a recent survey of Marketing Society members by newspaper trade marketing body Newsworks found that only 16 per cent of members have used tablets in their advertising work to date. Marketers identified a lack of technical understanding about tablets and insufficient evidence of successful advertising on the devices as problematic issues.

It’s encouraging then, to see a media group as large and influential as News International taking steps to close the knowledge gap between its digital teams and its advertisers.

The company has set up a digital commercial products unit that will focus on creating new advertising formats in partnership with brands.

If run effectively, the unit could serve as a hub for innovation and best practice, encouraging other publishers and advertisers to put their collective heads together and develop multi-platform advertising solutions that suit the needs of both sides. Given that news brands and advertisers are supposedly both in the communications business, that shouldn’t be as difficult as it seems.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here