Our View: The Big Opportunityh of 2009

2009 may look like a challenging year for the media and advertising space. Flat may be the new up, as some jested at Portada's Second Annual Digital and Print Media Conference in October. Yet difficulties also bring new opportunities, or, as they say in Spanish, "A rio revuelto, ganancia de Pescadores (With rivers in turmoil fishers may win)."

In these tumultuous economic times, digital and print media executives have a lot to gain, particularly in the Hispanic market, where broadcast amounts to almost 80% of advertising share. Media Planners and buyers and, even more so corporate marketers targeting Hispanics are thinking twice whether to run 30-second TV spots at $200,000 each, or look at more creative solutions, particularly in the realm of digital and print media. What about an FSI in a network of Hispanic newspapers and magazines? Or why not look at online advertising geotargeted to a specific region or a paid search campaign?

Vested interests at some advertising agencies tend to favor TV, due to higher revenues in the production and media buying process for broadcast media. However, this may not be enough to justify the spend compared with alternative advertising vehicles that deliver better ROI. Intelligent managers at some Hispanic advertising agencies are already assembling strong digital teams to cater to brimming demand.

Nowhere is this more true than in the Finance category. The earthquake in the financial sector has made it very important to reassure clients through continued advertising that the institutions are still there for them. Advertising is as essential as ever in this changing landscape. To get reach and impact in creative ways is really what print and digital media is all about. Newspapers, magazines and online media properties have strong original local-niche content, non-commodity content that extends the life of the ad-program. This is also the case in relatively new applications like online video and mobile advertising (see articles on page 1 and 34).

TV Commercials come and go. Print and digital Advertising is tangible, it stays around. As one eloquent panelists in Portada's recent conference (see review on page 17) said: "It's about moving the sales needle at the local cash register." Crises bring opportunities. Digital and print media professionals need to step up to the plate and show clients and agencies that digital and print advertising moves units.