Talk Magazine Hushes up

Jan 26, 2002

New York’s Talk Magazine, jointly funded by Miramax Films and Hearst Corp., is closing up shop just two-and-a-half years after its high-profile launch. The general-interest monthly, devoted to celebrities and pop culture, blamed the shutdown on the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. It is the latest publication to close amid the worst advertising slump in recent history. Media experts say that the magazine’s end was long in coming and widely expected, as it never created a media buzz or found the voice it needed to survive.

Moderator: Will mass media ever fully rebound?

Mass media companies (all media really) that rely on advertising and/or sponsorship dollars were having trouble long before murderous zealots hijacked and crashed four passenger planes on September 11. The economy struggles and ad dollars are often a quick path to cost reduction.

Even before the economic downturn, however, there was a fundamental reconsidering of the role and effectiveness of branding and sales promotion through a variety of media. Mass media has always provided minimal cost per thousands in “reaching” consumers while targeted communications promise direct hits for a higher per consumer reached fee.

Seth Godin’s book, Permission Marketing, is probably the most broadly read work on the subject. The basic principle is that traditional or Interruption Marketing, as Godin calls it, relies on breaking in on consumers’ lives (commercials during a program, for example) to try and influence purchasing decisions. The sheer number of messages that the average person deals with on a daily basis has resulted in consumers tuning them out.

Does Godin have a valid point? If so, how do (will) marketers reach the consumers they need to influence to drive product sales?

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