Google has extended its foray into selling print ads with a massive program to sell ads across 50 major newspapers. You've got to hand it to the company for thinking outside the square - very few online companies have thought about how to use technology to improve print media. It almost cuts against the grain.
But then again, this move shouldn't be surprising. Google collected 25 per cent of all US online advertising money last year, according to Nielsen//Netratings analyst Megan Clarken who was speaking in Sydney last week. Why wouldn't it want more? And why stop at just online ads? Check out this quote from Google's print guy, quoted in the NYT:
Tom Phillips, who runs Google’s print operations, said the company was attracted by the $48 billion spent every year in the United States on newspaper advertising. Google, nonetheless, is trying to position itself as a friend of the newspapers.
“Print adds value the Internet doesn’t have,” he said. Mr. Phillips, the former publisher of Spy Magazine, was hired by Google earlier this year. “It is a different browse-able reading medium.”
If this news is bad for anyone, it's print sales people & agencies who just got cut out of the loop.
And is it the saviour of print media? I don't think so, because this deal doesn't address the loss of audience attention.