Just an Online Minute... Closer to the Action
My top pick from last night is Pepsi Twist: Jack and Kelly by BBDO/New York. I’m not a fan of either the Osbournes or the Osmonds, but this spot actually made me smile. Second: Hill, Holiday and their zebra referee for Budweiser. A far cry from Clydesdales bowing to the New York skyline last year, but memorable nonetheless. Third: BBDO/New York and FedEx’s take on Tom Hanks and Castaway. Predictable, I know, but at least it was better than DDB’s repurposed chatty out-of-towner who was mildly amusing last year, but not enough to be brought back even in the company of Tim McGraw (also for Bud), and those two squirrel spots for Trident. My ‘Gross Misuse of Ad Dollars’ nod goes to BBDO/Detroit and Dodge or their Beef Jerky spot. It was just, well, gross.
Now on to more important news. This week begins with a highly anticipated United Nations’ report on Iraq, and moves on to the President’s State of the Union Address tomorrow, which some politicos say may lead us to some truly historic events. Being the closest to the action, Washington Post is throwing its significant weight behind its website to offer readers a variety of timely multimedia and interactive resources (including audio, video and expert analysis) that can’t be offered in print. As Christopher M. Schroeder, CEO and publisher of washingtonpost.com, said, “Using the interactive capabilities of the Web, we can expand our news coverage and bring our users closer to the action.”
Washington Post’s decision to emphasize its online capabilities this week is not surprising, considering just how well their online business is doing. Last week, the company said online advertising revenues for the last quarter of 2002 were up 79%. For the year, advertising revenues were up 60% compared to 2001.
Additionally, it looks like online counterparts of newspapers everywhere are doing quite well. Yesterday, Knight-Ridder said its online unit actually turned a small profit of $456,000. Dow Jones last week said the Wall Street Journal Online subscriber base increased 8% from last year. The New York Times, Gannett, and Tribune are yet to release their latest numbers, but even smaller publishers like Iowa-based Lee Enterprises are reporting Q4 online revenue increases.
Considering the current political and economic conditions, I’m willing to bet that 2003 will be a banner year for online newspapers.