PPA CONFERENCE: Delegates alerted to fierce competition for consumer time

Paul Edwards, the chief executive of the Henley Centre, warned publishers not to rest on their laurels in the fight for consumers’ attention in his keynote address at Magazines ’99.

Paul Edwards, the chief executive of the Henley Centre, warned

publishers not to rest on their laurels in the fight for consumers’

attention in his keynote address at Magazines ’99.



He said that, although the amount of media available for consumption has

grown enormously since the 80s, the amount of time spent consuming has

not gone up. ’It’s getting very tricky out there. Magazines have done

very well, but they mustn’t sit back.’



A particular threat is posed by the internet, he continued, as it can

offer a faster, more rewarding experience for customers in three

specific areas. ’Firstly, the comparing stage, when consumers are

weighing up one thing against another. Secondly, the stimulating stage,

when a consumer is looking more closely and wants more information. And

finally at the buying stage - with the internet, you can do it there and

then.’



Edwards argued that for advertisers to be noticed, they needed

advertising agencies to maintain high creative standards, rather than

relying on media agencies to come up with better and different

schedules.



’It’s not a matter of placement - that’s a sine qua non,’ he said. ’It’s

up to creativity to achieve standout.’



A possible effect of increasing competition was that publishers would be

more unwilling to launch niche titles and that innovation would take a

back seat.



’You’ve got to provide a relatively broad content whatever you’re doing.

The narrower you get, the more intense is the competition.’



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