Is ROP losing Ground to the FSI?

“In general, we’ve taken quite a hit in ROP advertising – down 40% year over year – while our inserts have increased by about 50% in the same period,” says Zulema Tijero, ad sales director for Tiempo Latino (60,000, weekly, Spanish).

Erich Linker, SVP of sales for Impremedia has also seen a contraction in ROP investment. “I think we’ve definitely seen a slip in ROP; and while FSI investment has increased, I don’t think that the two are related. Where you’re seeing the FSI growth is in Big-box Retailers, who are reaching out to this market. Where we’re seeing a decrease in ROP is Telecom, Financial, Automotive – GM moved out a lot of money last year – but we’ve actually seen Regional growth in automotive. Linker notes that the AT&T/Cingular merger has had a material impact on ROP revenues.” He also understands the increase in the insert business. “At the end of the day, FSIs are portable, give people a selection and allow advertisers to measure results.”

Michael Vinales, senior account director of NY-based American Multicultural Marketing, also agrees that the relative growth and decline of each vehicle is not necessarily correlated. “The FSI/ROP mix is something that varies market by market, publication by publication.”

Julio Saenz, general manager for Excelsior, the Orange County Register’s Hispanic publication says “I would say ROP is definitely down, which is strange because it was strong just a couple of months ago; but I gather that this is happening elsewhere in California as well. I would say its across the board in terms of categories. It’s particularly strange for retail, because Orange County is the biggest consumer spending market in the country.”

In the end, it seems, at issue is not FSI investment vs.ROP, but FSI and ROP. “And I think that, as a whole, we are going to see steady growth in both areas in the next couple of years,” concludes Impremedia’s Erich Linker.