I suppose there’s no other viable alternative for the newspaper industry at this point. The NYTimes today reports:
In a move into the old-fashioned business of ink on paper, Google is going to start selling advertisements that will appear in the print editions of 50 major newspapers. Google’s plan will give the publishing business a high-tech twist: the company will expand its computer system, which already auctions off advertisements on millions of Web sites, to take bids for newspaper ads as well. Hoping to reach out to a new crop of customers, such as small businesses and online retailers, many of the largest newspaper companies, including Gannett, the Tribune Company, The New York Times Company, the Washington Post Company and Hearst, have agreed to try the system in a three-month test set to start later this month.
Of course, the big question:
For the newspaper industry, reeling from the loss of both readers and advertisers, this new system offers a curious bargain: the publishers can get much-needed revenue but in doing so they may well make Google — which is already the biggest seller of online advertising — even stronger.
Then the next big question is what this will mean for traditional media-planning and buying agencies. If this plan is successful, Google probably won’t impact immediately the day-to-day of big agencies, nor regional and national advertisers. But the introduction of an entirely new crop of smaller advertisers could change the inventory landscape, as well as further commoditize the most basic planning and buying operations.