Shopper publications attending the International Classified Media Association meeting in Brussels this week — the vast majority from outside the U.S. — are showing resilience against the challenges of the Internet, and looking at new models to sustain their existing businesses. I was presenting a keynote on the transition to Marketplaces.
Shoppers, of course, are often considered the least protected of local media against the inroads of Internet services. But the companies at ICMA, mostly started by entrepreneurs and retaining an entrepreneurial edge, are carefully assessing next steps that would incorporate new media.
One big takeaway is that their print publications are seen as a major advantage over Internet pure plays because that’s where advertisers still place the value. Few companies are considering strategies that don’t include a print component. Jan-Pieter Oosting, managing director, WorldYacht BV/Yachtfocus of the Netherlands, summed it up best: “The Internet is where content is. Print is where the money is.”
Everything else seems to be fair game. Indeed, perhaps to a greater degree than other local media, the shoppers are especially zeroing in on the development of vertical publications, the deployment of self-service advertising using online, mobile tie-ins to print ads, and even mobile classified video in Second World markets that don’t have high Internet penetration. Mobile experimentation seems particularly popular among many ICMA attendees, especially as fast 3G network penetration increases.