The skinny on 1.49cm

The skinny on 1.49cm

As metric measurements go, 1.49 centimetres is hardly one that springs readily to mind.

There are others far more memorable, like 2.54cm (an inch), 10.16cm (a hand) or 30.48cm (a foot). There is 177cm and 165 cm, which are the average heights of men and women in New Zealand. A piece of A4 paper is 21cm by 29.7cm. This copy of Reseller News is 28cm by 36cm.

And the world’s smallest teddy bear is Mini-the-Pooh, who stands 0.5cm tall.

Of course, the tech world is full of measurements – more than most, in fact. Monitor sizes are an obvious one. They are conventionally listed in inches and seem to come in an ever increasing number: 8-inch (20.32cm); 11.6-inch (29.46cm); 13.3-inch (33.782cm); 15.4-inch (39.12cm); 17-inch (43.18cm); 21-inch (53.3cm) … and so it goes on.

Remember floppy disks? Invented by IBM, they came in three sizes: 8-inch (20.3cm), 5.25-inch (13.3cm), and 3.5-inch (8.9cm).

A DVD measures 11.8cm; a USB slot is 1.2cm.

Dell’s Adamo XPS is the thinnest laptop in the world at just 0.99cm – incidentally, the thinnest MacBook is 1.94cm.

Now as interesting as all that is, why my fixation with 1.49cm? What is significant about this measurement? Well, I think anyone in the advertising and advertising-related worlds should pay very close attention to this particular figure. Like many of you, I received the brand spanking new Yellow Pages the other day. My little lad dragged the bag all the way up the driveway, into the house, and proudly dropped them at my feet.

Somehow, though, as it hit the floor there wasn’t the same satisfying thud as usual.

You see, the Yellow Pages just ain’t quite what it used to be, for Auckland, at least (and, all things being equal, elsewhere in New Zealand will likely be the same). This year’s A-K and L-Z editions are, yep you’ve guessed it, a combined 1.49cm thinner than last (give or take a mm). If that sounds quite a lot for a publication like this, that is because it is. The 2010 edition is 20.4 per cent smaller!

Does that equate to one in five fewer ads? Probably. I am not going to count them all.

Does it mean 20 percent less advertising revenue? Almost certainly. I’m guessing online ads take up some of the slack, but we all know there are now myriad ways to sell ourselves online. Personally, I am not sure I ever really use the online Yellow Pages. That is not meant as a slight on the site, it is just that I generally let my fingers do the walking … all the way to Google.

It is a stark reminder – if we didn’t already need reminding – of the changing face of how we find information and promote our products and services.

And if that is not significant enough, I had been using it to prop up my monitor. So now it is 1.49cm lower …

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