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WPP chief urges print re-think

Print media is more powerful than agencies believe and advertisers should direct a greater percentage of their revenue there, the CEO of the world’s largest advertising group has said. Readers would be more likely to remember information in print products than on digital platforms, said WPP Group’s chief executive Martin Sorrell in comments made at a Broadcasting...

Print media is more powerful than agencies believe and advertisers should direct a greater percentage of their revenue there, the CEO of the world’s largest advertising group has said.

Readers would be more likely to remember information in print products than on digital platforms, said WPP Group’s chief executive Martin Sorrell in comments made at a Broadcasting Press Guild event and reported by The Times.

Advertisers should look at engagement rather than measuring time spent on a page when deciding where to spend their money, Mr Sorrell said at the event.

“There is an argument at the moment about the effectiveness of newspapers and magazines, even in their traditional form, and maybe they are more effective than people give them credit [for],” Mr Sorrell told the guild.

Mr Sorrell has pushed WPP’s investment towards digital platforms, with between 40 and 45 per cent of its revenue over the next five years slated to come from new media.

The Sorrell analysis has been welcomed by the chief executive of The Newspaper Works, Mark Hollands.

“Martin Sorrell is one of the world’s most respected media thinkers and strategists,” he said.

“Many executives are asking about the balance of their marketing, and the possible over-emphasis on social media and digital in general. Mr Sorrell has underscored the validity of those conversations.”

The deeper engagement with newspapers was a critical factor that was often overlooked by those trying to find quick, inexpensive and efficient channels, he said.

“The difficult conditions for newspapers is a global one. The choice for clients and agencies has never been greater, and the competition for their dollar never more intense,” Mr Hollands said.

“Publishers need to ensure their offering is a quick and simple to buy as other solutions in the market. In doing so, they will no doubt continue to prosecute the case not only for the value of their audience but the engagement and influence of their mastheads and digital properties with those audiences.”

Newspapers could offer advertisers unparalleled audience engagement and deserved a higher share of ad spend, the CEO of WPP subsidiary GroupM told The Newspaper Works last year.

“It actually has a level of engagement like no other mass media does, in terms of leaning forward,” John Steedman said.

“Newspapers still play a very important part in brand building, through the fact that it’s a trusted medium and brands want to be associated with at trusted medium,” Mr Steedman said.

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