Helping newspapers expand exposure to classified ads p.

By: Dorothy Giobbe

Company creates software designed to make classifieds accessible at kiosks in shopping malls sp.

KTS RESEARCH INC. of Durham, N.H., has created a Windows-compatible software product designed to help newspapers expand their classified advertising through kiosks placed in shopping malls and other high-traffic areas.
KTS will license the software to sponsoring area newspapers for $5,000 a year. The newspaper sets the length of advertising schedules and corresponding prices for various ad categories. KTS receives $1 for each ad placed.
The kiosks have interactive, “user-friendly” touch screens controlled by computers that allow customers to search through thousands of listings. Typically, an ad consists of a picture with a sentence or two of information.
The database is divided into a number of categories, similar to classified sections of most newspapers. The software holds all the ads from the sponsoring newspaper’s classified section in addition to those entered at a kiosk.
John Tilton, vice president of KTS, said that while public use of kiosks now consists mostly of bank-operated automatic teller machines, KTS believes that advertising kiosks soon will become routine to consumers.
“We have created the software and the marketing concept,” Tilton said. “Rather than open businesses on our own and compete with the newspapers, we decided to present the newspapers with an opportunity to own what will be their next level of classified competition.”
Ad placement can take place at a kiosk or the sponsoring newspaper or if real estate agencies have Companion for Real Estate software, the information can be entered into the agency’s computer and transferred directly to the newspaper hub computer.
Tilton added that consumers soon will be able to buy software that allows them to access the system at home, so users can “call up and do exactly what they would do at the mall.”
As alternate methods of classified advertising develop and are launched in the marketplace, Tilton believes that newspapers need to recognize and embrace emerging technology.
“Newspapers are no longer the only source for advertising information,” he said. “Free magazines found in supermarkets, such as the Auto Trader or the Boat Trader, have captured, I think, a significant chunk of the newspapers classified advertising. We consider ourselves the next level of competition and we’re offering it directly to the newspapers.”
Because both newspapers and malls occupy high visibility positions in any given community, Tilton believes that there are myriad benefits available to newspapers that take advantage of the software. Most importantly, newspapers benefit from additional revenue gained through ads placed at kiosks.
Also, the high visibility of kiosks enhances and reinforces the public’s perception of a newspaper as a supplier of information.
Tilton said kiosks also can be used as satellite newspaper offices, and new subscriptions could be promoted by kiosk attendants.
Initially, kiosks would be used for local advertising, but as the number of malls using kiosks grows, Tilton said, a national database could be used. Papers would receive additional revenue because advertisers would pay more for a national listing.
Most likely, he said, kiosks will be accepted as another form of advertising to complement traditional methods.
KTS has discussed the software with many papers, including such Connecticut ones as the Stamford Advocate, Waterbury Republican-American, New Haven Register and Bridgeport-based Connecticut Post, “all of which have said yes and are moving forward at some speed,” Tilton said.
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