The Battle Between Editorial & Advertising

November 23, 2008

Here’s an interesting one which surfaced during pre-production week.

The constant battle for page space between editorial and advertising content – and how the two inter-relate, both in the minds of the production team and the paying advertiser. It’s a tricky one.

One the one hand, there is the editorial tone, quality, tone and basic ‘readability’ of a magazine. On the other hand, there are the expectations, requirements and sometimes blatant demands of a paying advertiser.

How to balance the two, so an editorial product of value, attractive readability and, ultimately, profitable delivery of the editorial product can be delivered on time, on budget and also ticking all the above boxes.

Do you struggle with this? Do you find yourself as a media professional wondering if there are better ways of providing and adding value to the editorial you collate and cajole into the magazine flat plan each month?

I know I do! Any, usually, it is the editorial quality which suffers in the hands of a paying advertiser. Concessions are made in the name of adding pounds onto projected monthly targets. Quality editorial content is binned in the 11th hour for additional adverts to go into previously-allocated copy slots.

But, especially during a credit-crunched year, we are made to understand that above all, the editorial product MUST remina profitable at all times. If I learnt nothing else as an editor in Northcliffe Newspaper Group, it was that profit is the paramount driver. Keep the advertisers happy. Everything else is secondary.

And so we push onwards, striving to maintain an editorial portfolio of which we are proud. An editorial portfolio which stands up to the scrutiny of our peers. An editorial portfolio on which the dark-eyed sales teams can generate further sales and keep the money-machine rolling.

Not that I am cynical or an editorial-dreamer – far from it! Without revenues, we have redundancies.

But the issue of balancing the editorial and advertising people remains the biggest challenge to date. If you had to make a choice, between better editorial tone and increased adverts, what would you pick?

Happy trails – feedback from editors and advertisers alike will help this Sunday evening quandry…


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