Stupidity 101: Newspapers and Freebies

Asks the Economist:
“IN A letter about pay-rises to staff at the Sun last year, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, Rebekah Wade, its editor, remarked that in future the paper’s success would probably depend more on free CDs and DVDs than on its journalists. British newspapers are frenziedly giving things away, and in Germany, France, Italy, Poland and throughout Latin America papers are also increasingly relying on freebies to try to attract new readers. In Britain the circulation of national newspapers fell by 3% in 2005, following a 2% decline in 2004. The same pattern of falling circulation is being repeated across Europe and the United States. So are all the free gifts a sign of desperation from newspapers, or an entirely sensible new marketing strategy?”
My “hero” Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Sun and the Times, said last November that he dislikes it because “people grab the paper, tear the DVD off and throw away the paper”. He’s right.
This is the same kind of stupidity that software companies engage in when they give away free T-shirts. They don’t attract the target audience, but end up with droves of kids wearing “.NET” T-shirts. A friend of mine used to give away free T-shirts to the homeless, until his boss found out. Hurts the brand, you know.
Bet you 85% of the people grabbing the CDs and DVDs don’t read the paper at all.
This is what I call GM-style management.
Read all about it!

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