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Boerseun's sure-fire economic indicator...


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You've all heard of the hamburger index, right?

 

Well, here's a new spin on things which I've noticed recently, and I think might be a handy indicator of economic conditions in any given city:

 

You take a copy of every major newspaper in town, and count the number of pages dedicated to property sales.

 

Next, you calculate the surface area of all property ads in the paper. Then, you calculate the surface area of all ads containing colour. Full colour ads might count twice the weight of spot colour ads, which has twice the weight of black-and-white ads. If every single ad is full colour, then property sales are as perfect as it could be. If all the ads are black-and-white, then that's as bad as it can get, and the estate agencies are only ticking by, merely placing ads 'cause they have to maintain their presence in the print media. And black-and-white ads are considerably cheaper than colour ads.

 

Neither a fully-coloured property section nor a fully black-and-white property section is likely, so the balance of colour towards monochromatic might be an indicator saying something meaningful about the economy at the time.

 

Of course, you shouldn't be a complete doofus and try this with a 100% black-and-white newspaper, aye. You need a paper with colour. Like, duh.

 

I have a newspaper as a client, and I've noticed the ratio of colour ads towards monochrome change over the last two years as the local economy's fortunes changed. So, if you have a record of these papers over a few years and you compare one day's colour ratio against another, that might tell you whether the economy is good or bad!

 

I've noticed estate agencies being the first rats to jump ship when the economy goes down, because home sales are normally the first victim of worsening economic conditions - all buyers suddenly disappear. And then they're normally the first guys to go big on advertising spending when there's a turnaround, because when there's more money going around, suddenly the buyers pop out of the woodwork to snap up whatever bargains are left before the house prices rise again - and the estate agencies follow suit with bigger, flashier and more colourful ads!

 

So, boys 'n girls, remember - you heard it here first! Go grab a newspaper and calculate away. Then monitor it and keep track of it, and the day you start seeing a higher colour percentage, you go out and buy stocks and shares and gizmos an' ****!

 

And then take your profits and go buy yourself a beer and think of how awesome Boerseun is.

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Prolly still works for the "third world" B! :oh_really:

 

...but here in the states it's a little weird. The San Francisco Chronicle has been downsized severely by number of pages, but they are going to ALL COLOR format in June because they're getting new presses where it turns out color is *cheaper*....AND the vast majority of classified ads are going online exclusively....that is, the web site sfgate.com is now subsidizing the printed paper.

 

The Los Angeles Times is still rightly known as "The Whale" and is going all color too, but in spite of all the pages of real estate ads, the situation in southern California is actually worse than up here in the north....

 

Virtuous motives, trammeled by inertia and timidity, are no match for armed and resolute wickedness. A sincere love of peace is no excuse for muddling hundreds of millions of humble folk into total war. The cheers of the weak, well-meaning assemblies soon cease to count. Doom marches on, :phones:

Buffy

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* Cough *

Of course, you shouldn't be a complete doofus and try this with a 100% black-and-white newspaper, aye. You need a paper with colour. Like, duh.

...and I suppose the opposite is true, too - you shouldn't be a complete doofus and try it with a 100% colour publication, either.

 

Let me rephrase - so as to avoid all confusion: Try the above with a publication that sports both colour and black-and-white pages, where the black and white ads are cheaper than the colour ones. Failing that, count property ads printed on heavy weighted paper as opposed to thin, crappy paper. If internet ads are the way to go (my God - no-one in the "Third World" advertises property on the internet - do the REALLY DO THAT??? *GASP*!) then compare the budget spent on high-traffic sites as opposed to low traffic sites which will be cheaper, and monitor the percentage change over time.

 

Goodness gracious me - here in the "Thrid World", we have a free press ranging from single-page monochrome flyers printed in blood on the beaten skins we peel off the backs of the slaves we worked to death in the mine-pits, to mixed-colour newsprint, to full-colour perfect-bound glossy magazines filled with crap imported from the States containing such gems as "Ten Ways To Know If You'll Die From Brain Heammorhage Reading This Article" to "How To Tell You're Pregnant In Only Nine Months".

 

But I though I was pretty clear in the original post as to which media to try for this particular purpose.

 

If you have to try any other media, then it should also be clear to calculate the budgets blown on cheapies as a percentage of that blown on the more expensive ones, and how its changing over time as an indicator of the economic circumstances.

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Tee hee!

 

There's a reason I always got "has trouble following instructions" on my report cards... :lol:

 

Okay, so these papers actually do have both B&W and color, so I will try! :roll:

 

Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock, :eek2:

Buffy

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