Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

No wonder people are placing fewer classifieds in newspapers

Mark Fletcher
August 9th, 2018 · No Comments

I had cause to place a death notice in a News Corp. newspaper early last week. The website was clunky. I selected a price point based on the word count but the website dropped me to a lower word count and then bumped me up to where I was in the first place. It was cumbersome and frustrating.

However, that is not my main complaint. Here it is…

In the death notice there was mention of a memorial service, within the word count limit. They would not permit this. Either I had to create two separate ads, one in death notices and one in funeral notices for a higher cost, or move the whole ad from death notices to funeral notices.

Due to an apparent arbitrary rule of News Corp. I either spend more on two notices or end up in a category that I considered inappropriate. This is a rule of yesteryear, a rule that, to me, demonstrates why fewer people run classifieds in newspapers.

It is not as if the mechanics and structures of the classified columns will not permit memorial service details in death notices. There is no reason for the rule from what I can see except to maximise revenue for the publisher.

What is interesting is that I ran the same ad in a small local regional newspaper, not part of the News Corp. world, and they accepted and ran the ad without issue. In their world a death notice can include a memorial service notice. Indeed, the experience with the regional publisher was simpler, faster and more enjoyable than with News.

Based on my personal experience with News Corp. classified ads, I think it is a broken out of date business that charges as if it is the only platform for these life moment notices. Thankfully, there are more options, which can be used depending on the generation one wants to reach with such a notice.

For all their focus on digital delivery, pay walls and more, News Corp. has their classifieds business rooted in the past, in an era when print was the only platform.

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Category: Ethics · Media disruption · Newspapers

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