Public Relations Tactics

PR Blotter

October 30, 2013

News organizations have struggled with shrinking audiences for more than a decade, a trend that may only worsen over time, Poynter reported on Oct. 7.

In a Pew Research survey of news-consumption habits, young and middle-age audiences seem unlikely to ever match the avid interest in news demonstrated by the generations they will replace, even as younger audiences turn to the Internet as their principal source of news.

So-called “Gen Xers” (33 to 47 years old) and “Millennials” (18 to 31 years old), who began their adulthoods spending less time following news than older people do, have shown little indication that they will consume news more heavily as they age. News consumption appears to have been declining with each successive generation.

Perhaps most troubling for newspapers is that readership from younger audiences on digital devices is modest and hasn’t done much to offset declines in print readership among these groups.

As Poynter reported, social media has the potential to boost news consumption among younger generations, but so far has done so only modestly.

Only 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup’s 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, released on Oct. 9.

In other words, about one in eight workers — roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied — are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.

The bulk of employees worldwide — 63 percent — are “not engaged,” meaning that they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. And 24 percent are “actively disengaged,” indicating that they are unhappy and unproductive at work, and liable to spread negativity to coworkers.

 While newspapers have been cutting staff and condensing the amount of space that they devoted to certain topics in recent years, the Pew Research Center also notes that a growing number of dailies have also reduced the amount of newsprint that they devote to editorials and commentary.

“The trend over the last dozen years or so is that editorial departments have lost space and personnel,” Bob Davis, associate publisher/editor of The Anniston Star, told Pew on Oct. 8. “People are looking at themselves less as being an editorial voice and more as being a stimulator of conversation.”

In addition, membership in the Association of Opinion Journalists, the organization that represents editorial writers and columnists, has plunged 55 percent from 549 members in 2006, to 245 members this year.

Americans are spending a full five hours and 16 minutes per day in front of a screen without turning on a television, says a report from the research firm eMarketer.

But we’re actually watching more television programming — on sets and on a growing range of digital devices and platforms. In addition to the five-plus hours that adults are spending in front of other screens each day, they’re still watching their TVs, with a daily intake of four hours and 31 minutes this year — seven minutes less than in 2012 — according to eMarketer. (via)

TV shows generating the most activity on Twitter are often not the ones with the highest viewership, a new Nielsen rating says.

As The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 4, Twitter’s 49.2 million U.S. users are generally younger and disproportionately live in cities — a very different demographic than the mass TV audience that marketers spend tens of billions of dollars annually to reach.

But marketers still see potential value in knowing which shows have enthusiasts on Twitter.

Oreo’s “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” tweet during this year’s Super Bowl blackout was an instance of real-time marketing that worked.

But as Digiday reported on Oct. 1, other brands have misguidedly been trying to replicate Oreo’s social media success by glomming on to nearly every major event in the country. Whether it’s back-to-school season or the series finale of “Breaking Bad,” brands now feel the need to add their two cents in real-time — with results that range from somewhat clever to downright painful.

“The Oreo tweet was a great idea for a marketing execution, but it doesn’t mean it’s a great idea for a continuing strategy…you can’t plan and manufacture that kind of serendipity,” said Matt Britton, CEO of the MRY agency. “[F]or a lot of brands, it’s really just embarrassing. You have brand marketers who have spent 50 years crafting their brand and now all of a sudden they are dumbing it down with clip art trying to replicate magic that happened once.”



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