Newspapers as fast moving consumer goods brands

Date of publication: November 1, 1995

Author: Philip Wisson


The marketing term "FMCG" stands for "fast moving consumer goods" which are usually exemplified by grocery products such as baked beans or detergents. It is however obvious that few product areas provide such excellent examples of FMCG as the newspaper market. The product is typically purchased every day (or in the case of Sundays, every week) by the million, and the perishability is extreme (the demand for yesterday’s newspaper not being extremely high). This may be contrasted with a sector such as detergents which are typically purchased monthly and can be stored for long periods. The significance of regarding newspapers as archetypal FMCG products is that the FMCG sector has been much studied by marketing experts and there is a large body of analysis about the best marketing strategies to be deployed in typical competitive situations. This kind of analysis has in the past hardly ever been applied to newspaper markets which have been assumed to concern very special products with unique relationships to their consumers ("our loyal readership"). Recently in the UK this simple view of newspaper purchasers as loyal readers, not fickle consumers, has been called into question, largely as a result of initiatives from Rupert Murdoch’s News International, which will be discussed in more detail below. The use of such techniques however makes it easier to make comparisons between developments in the newspaper sector and in more conventional FMCG markets.

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