The Future of Print Classifieds; Newspaper Classified Managers Agree That They Must Change the Way They Offer Their Ad Services or Else Their Base Will Be Eroded

By Giobbe, Dorothy | Editor & Publisher, July 16, 1994 | Go to article overview

The Future of Print Classifieds; Newspaper Classified Managers Agree That They Must Change the Way They Offer Their Ad Services or Else Their Base Will Be Eroded


Giobbe, Dorothy, Editor & Publisher


PRINT CLASSIFIEDS WILL still be around in the year 2000, but unless newspapers build and maintain data-bases, alternative advertising vehicles will continue to erode classified revenue.

That's the consensus from a group of classified managers that met at the recent Newspaper Association of America classified and cooperative marketing conference in Las Vegas.

Ray Vico, display advertising manager for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, advised classified managers to concentrate on the core product.

"Don't get hung up on the latest classified craze, whether it's remote entry, voice resumes or niche products," Vico said. "Don't ignore the basic function of your classified system; simple, easy-to-read information for advertisers and readers alike."

Even though some newspapers are planning for on-line, videotex, and interactive classifieds, Vico predicted that such services "will not take one dollar away from newspaper classifieds."

Attempting to access an on-line classified ad is a "joke," Vico said. When searching employment classifieds via personal computer, "I can't browse through the classifieds looking for related positions .... I can't roll, circle and contemplate various job openings, and I can't take my computer to lunch."

Also, Vico doubts the viability of classified ads offered through interactive television sets.

"With over 500 channels of entertainment .... I'm not going to be bothered looking for a three line ad for a 1986 Ford," he said.

Similarly, audiotex services "won't mean a thing to classified," Vico said. "Yes, I know about the auto and real estate lines like the Miami Herald's Auto Line, it's an absolute joke."

"A computer voice to answer inquiries about your classified ad -- have we all gone crazy?" Vico asked. "Why are so many people trying so hard to make classified applications when there is no need?

"Let's not forget that classified advertising is the private possession of the newspaper industry," Vico concluded. "It has never worked anywhere else. Many have tried to take it away from us, none have succeeded. It has been that way the entire century, and it will be that way in the year 2000."

Dean Welch, director of classified advertising for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, told classified managers that by 2000, newspaper employment advertising will account for less than 10% of total classified revenue and will be "nearly extinct. …

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