Publishers Confident in Industry Health and Digital

Introducing min’s Confidence Index.

By Tony Silber

We are pleased to introduce our new Confidence Index, a recurring feature intended to map over time how executives from across the industry are feeling about their businesses. This proprietary data will show the ups and downs, and peaks and troughs that all executive managers feel about their prospects.

In this first iteration, we ask two questions:

  • Rate your confidence in advertisers’ media spending over next six months on a scale of 1-10, with one being the least confident and 10 being the most confident.
  • What’s going to get you there, print or digital? Give a number between 1 and 10, with number 1 being completely print, and number 10 being completely digital.

By mapping confidence in ad spend with the prospective road map—print or digital—for achieving that spend, we create a two-dimensional look at two critical business drivers: The level of advertising spend the industry is experiencing and the direc­tion marketing dollars are flowing. (We note here that some of the members of the panel are digital-only companies, which obviously will have revenue just from that one source.)

Taking a two-dimensional approach allows us to create a much richer picture of the state of the industry. We go beyond mere confidence, which is subject to best-case thinking. And we go beyond tracking just revenue, without looking at the source.

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What we found was fascinating. The confidence level was high, with all but one of our 17 respondents on the positive side of the continuum. The average confidence score across respondents was 6.9 out of a maximum of 10. Similarly, for most of the respondents, growth was expected to come on the digital side, with three of the 17 respondents skewing to print and another three more or less in the middle.

“We are still doing well overall,” one respondent says. “May will be our third straight month of record revenue. However, while we are still well above 2016 in our forward sales, those sales are down slightly from the February/March period. Overall, I’m not worried because this can be attributed to a number of factors (seasonality, relatively few work days in April, etc.)  It does, however, have my attention. We’ll see how things play out in the coming weeks.”

Two other respondents offered a similarly qualified prognosis. “We are seeing high demand in key verticals in our market, but some hesitancy among Fortune 50 advertisers,” one says.

And a third respondent told us, “Despite our efforts at reinforcing the unique qualities of print, the immediate ability to measure activity of digital readers and users—impressions, clicks, response—continues to win over print’s promise without precision.”

Our data are based on responses from a panel of more than 20 senior business executives, 17 of whom shared their per­spective in this first edition. We expect to expand the panel over the next few months to more than 50 executives, giving min unparalleled access to an even more representative sample of the industry.


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