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College Newspapers One Bright Spot for Print Advertising

college-paper.jpgThe outlook for print advertising is increasingly grim. Ad pages are down, newsrooms are getting getting slashed, and American Journalism Review's Charles Layton ran an article this month with the cheery headline "Bridging the Abyss: Why a lot of newspapers aren't going to survive," detailing how online ad money will never make up for lost print revenues.

In all the bloodshed, anxious media buyers should check out the recent report from Alloy Media+Marketing. As detailed by BrandWeek's Steve Miller, the report finds some frankly pretty amazing engagement numbers from college papers and their readers. From the article:

Alloy Media+Marketing, New York, found that 82% of students read their campus newspaper, a rate that more than doubles most major metro dailies.

Of this group, most are also open to advertising. Only 13% said they avoid advertising in their campus newspaper. Close to 80% reported reacting to an ad or article...

Coupons were found to be particularly effective in gaining brand affinity, with 78% of respondents claiming to have responded to coupons or promotional codes.
What's interesting, and I what I'd love to see further research into, is why one of the youngest and most digital demos still shows so much engagement with the college paper. I know from my own time in college, I picked up the college paper mainly for the far-too-easy crossword puzzle, but I still picked it up on a very regular basis.

This may be an interesting corollary to the move the a lot of local print dailies are already attempting to make, moving over to a hyperlocal model of news reporting, and therefore advertising opportunities. After all, what's more local than a college campus? One of the major appeals of online advertising is the ease of targeting -- perhaps the future of print finding those outlets with a small but tightly focused group and attempting to engage with them.

Update: See also David Weir's take on hyperlocal reporting over at BNET Media.

(Picture of a student reader from Flickr user striatic, CC 2.0)

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