GM Ends Advertising Boycott of ‘LA Times’

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(AP) General Motors Corp. has ended an advertising boycott against the Los Angeles Times that began in April because of what the auto maker called factual errors and misrepresentations in newspaper’s coverage.

“GM and the Los Angeles Times have had productive discussions regarding our complaints about the newspaper’s coverage of GM,” GM spokesman Brian Akre said Tuesday. “While we have respectively agreed to disagree on some of the issues, we sincerely believe that Times has a better understanding of our concerns and we appreciate its ongoing willingness to listen.”

The resumption of advertising in the paper, which is owned by Tribune Co., comes as the world’s largest auto maker is extending its popular employee discount pricing program into August, ending a plan to stop the offers this week amid competition from its rivals.

Akre declined to comment on the dollar value of the pulled advertising.

GM spent around $21 million on ad space in the Times in 2004, up from about $9.9 million in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence data. The estimate doesn’t include local GM dealers, many of whom weren’t part of the boycott.

The auto maker spent about $2.8 billion on media time and space for advertising in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

On Monday, GM ran a full-page ad for its 2006 Pontiac Solstice.

Times spokeswoman Martha Goldstein declined to comment on the financial effect of the boycott.

The Times, along with other newspapers across the nation, has been struggling amid sluggish advertising demand and a downturn in circulation.

Compared with other papers, the Times has seen particularly sharp circulation declines recently, in part because do-not-call legislation has thwarted efforts to sign up new subscribers through telemarketing.

Also cutting circulation at the paper has been an effort by Tribune to implement stricter practices for counting subscribers in the wake of revelations that figures were overstated at its Newsday and Spanish-language Hoy newspapers.

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