AN amazing thing is happening in Guyana. On the one hand, the Stabroek News is accusing the government of starving it of state advertisements because of deteriorating relations with officials over a number of issues, including demands for cash payment for ads.
The government on the other hand appears to have woken up a bit late to the fact that people around the world now access social media outlets and sites far quicker than traditional media such as newspapers.
So now that it is changing direction and focus to spread out ads to online outlets more than newspapers and television stations, there is a rift between government and the newspaper. That rift could have been avoided if only those in charge had clicked earlier.
I called around to the three main newspapers yesterday and discovered that daily circulation of none is more than 25,000 copies in such a vast country. So placing the majority of ads in newspapers, ads such as job vacancies, requests for nominations for national awards and others usually miss the general public because these ads are placed only in mainstream, traditional media. If officials insist on continuing with newspapers, radio and television, these ads should be duplicated on social media for all to see.
In the case of Stabroek News, which I regard as the nation’s mainstream medium, persons both locally and in the diaspora have limited access to the paper as they have to subscribe or be limited to the few paragraphs the paper releases for internet readers. Its circulation, I was informed, is about 7,000 daily, so once again the question of where to place ads for maximum money value is a no-brainer. Of the four dailies, it is a toss up among the Guyana Chronicle, Stabroek News and even Guyana Times for the lowest circulation. I have also seen the Times being distributed for free in some areas because of poor support.
As people like Mark Benschop, Gordon Moseley, Demerara Waves and the Media Critic have proven, social media is where it is all at. Let us hope that those who place these ads snap out of the traditional media stupor; social media access is free. The Stabroek News would do well to tweak its online presence rather than demanding paid subscriptions. The fact is that some of the rival media houses have the same stories on the same day as that paper. Readers simply switch to those outlets.
The paper would do well, I think, to make it up to government as when all is said and done, government is one of the largest advertisers; it is also the largest employer and the one which will more often than not have to advertise its numerous services, tender opportunities, vacancies and such like for statutory and other reasons.