Is no news truly good news? A common phrase, it reportedly stems from King James I of England, according to Dictionary.com. The phrase, by definition, means, "Having no information means that bad developments are unlikely, as in I haven't heard from them in a month, but no news is good news." Or, it could mean they were eaten by lions.
Today, no news is better than most news, especially for the ad industry. The current trade news has been built on lay-offs, agency closings, and executive shake-ups. Unfortunately, there are not enough agencies deeply imbeded into the economic flow of the US Economy to warrant a government bail out...unless a catchy new "American" jingle will help the United States re-brand; The National Anthem doesn't seem to get much respect or on-air play these days other than leading off sporting events.
Scanning from publication to publication, news of the economy is built on both optimistic and pessimistic outlooks, the simplest method for stating, "We really don't have a clue at this time regarding the length, or lasting effect, of the current economic conditions." If there is nothing to say, then quit writing about it.
Today, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that the economic freefall is far from over:
"...[PwC] not only don't see a recovery soon but actually think ad spending will continue sinking, such that by 2013 it will be below where it was last year, at $174 billion versus $189 billion. That’s a decline of 1.7 percent per year. Global spending will sink even more."
Foreboding news. Yet, it's not the economy being singled out as the root cause; rather, the report states that the switch to digital, due to measurability and targetablity, will rise above media seen as ineffective and inefficient.The usual suspects, newspaper and magazines, are likely to take the largest losses. However, the PwC report mentions television as a declining resource.
The internet will continue to grow as an ad medium, according to the report. "The internet's share of total U.S.ad revenue will rise to 19 percent in 2013 from 13 percent in 2008." Which leads back to the original question: "Is no news good news?"
The answer? No news can be fantastic news for some mediums, while the same silence signals the death knell for others.