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Ethanz: Are print ads crazy?

Ethan, in a long, careful, and superb speculative piece, wonders if newspapers have been propped up by the fact that advertisers couldn’t tell just how over-priced the ad space in newspapers has been:

Basically, there are two ways to explain the disparity in online and offline ad cost. One is to argue that paper ads are, for some combination of reasons, ten to a hundred times more effective than online ads. The other is to argue that advertisers are better at pricing online ads than offline ads.

So, if we lose the irrational pricing of offline ads, how are newspapers going to support expensive, investigative journalism? Or, as Ethan puts it.

What if the model that brought us Upton Sinclair and Woodward and Bernstein – impression advertising – can’t bring us into the future because it’s based on uneven distribution of information and bad math?

And Ethan’s answer is: We don’t know yet.

Great, provocative piece.

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