The internet (and the information revolution as a whole) has a vast influence on many parts of the Haredi society. David Galperin lists the main changes undergone by the advertising industry catering to Haredis.
The estimate is that more than 10% of people with Haredi background are exposed to the internet in one form or another. As time passes, there is significant growth in internet exposure in that sector, in homes and workplaces. The smartphone revolution has also reached this sector, as some are trying to deal with the challenges of fitting smartphones to the lifestyle of Haredis – especially regarding content screening.
2016 is considered the year when, for the first time, more people have left the Haredi world than joined it. More professions and jobs are staffed by Haredis today. In almost every university, there is a representation in the form of Haredi students. According to the IDF’s HR department (AKA), approximately 8,000 Haredis serve in the army today, and this figure is growing every year.
On the other hand, there is a resistance movement, which makes an extra effort to stay closed in, while becoming more fundamentalist. One expression of this is the “Jerusalem Stream” of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, which challenges the mainstream Lithuanian Haredis while seeking more separatism from modern society.
Digital in the Haredi sector:
Two major digital advertising firms are active in the Haredi sector today, one of them being Max Digital, alongside many small businesses. These companies target the Haredi sector via the internet, Facebook and other platforms. Today, many organizations and businesses have a web page and even a Facebook page, and the numbers are growing every day. Accordingly, digital advertising in the Haredi sector, in the internet and in social media, has become more popular and widespread.
One prominent example that businesses in the Haredi sector are realizing the direction in which the wind is blowing is the acquisition of the popular news portal “Behadrei Haredim” by Meir Gal, one of the most important advertising personas in the sector and owner of the “Gal-Oren” advertising company. The blending of the Haredi news portal “Cocker” with the Haredi radio station “Kol Barama” is another example.
Advertising in the Haredi sector:
The market share of the big offices in the Haredi advertising sector is dwindling: Over the past few years, client marketing budgets are being cut down, and smaller, newer offices are nibbling on the budgets of national-scale organizations, once reserved only for the big players. Several examples of that are Leumi Mortgages, now in the hands of ‘VIP’; Leumi bank, now in the hands of ‘Feedback’ and Jerusalem Bank, now in the hands of ‘Mutag BePirsum (Brand in Publishing)’ – all three being “young” advertising firms.
Some of the big offices have even been cut out of the list of most influential advertising agencies. For example, ‘Afikim Advertising’ has dropped all the way to the seventh place, according to a report on the website ‘Pashkevil’. ‘Gal Oren’, which used to be number one in the Haredi sector, is now looking more and more toward the National Orthodox one instead.
Medias in the Haredi sector:
Street banners: This is considered ‘uncivilized’ and expensive, but on the other hand it is censorship-free, as well as clear of intrigues and inner politics (which are common in the traditional Haredi media). In the last few years, a significant decrease is noted in the use of this tool by the large advertising brands – from 25% to only 3%. A decrease is also noted in the amount of ads pasted on boards in big cities (from 37% to about 25%, excluding holiday eves, and in Bnei Brak there is also a decrease during holiday eves). In small Haredi cities, the occupancy rate of billboards is at %40 only during weekdays.
Haredi journalism: All over the world, a decrease is noted in the exposure to print newspapers, while more and more advertising money is allocated to digital and internet. Every reputed newspaper in this sector has also created a digital version, delivered through emails. Some even have their own website, with the goal of attracting more subscribers while keeping the existing ones.
Haredi journalism has reached a stalemate in the past few years. The daily papers survive mainly thanks to the political bodies supporting them. A good example of that is “HaMevaser (The Informer)”, founded in 2009. The popular weekly magazine “Mishpacha (Family)” tried to create a free version distributed mid-week, but that eventually led to major losses.
Local news outlets: Efforts are constantly being made by entrepreneurs to create new local news outlets, in addition to the existing ones, but most of them fail to lift off. From the tens who have already tried, very few are still around today. A few examples: “She’arim (Gates)” in Betar, which has declared bankruptcy twice; “Be’Otzsma (With Force)”, which was established as a competitor to “Koach HaPirsum (The Power of Advertising)”; The Jerusalemite newspaper “Kehilot Ramot (Elevated Communities)”; and “Pirsum Hazak (Powerful Advertising)”, which has managed to become a network of local news outlets on a national scale, cheaper than the national newspapers.
The article was written and edited by David Galeperin, chairman of Gil Group