By: Joe Strupp
The New York Times Friday became the first to run a new full-page ad from the Newspaper Association of America aimed at advertisers, which touts newspapers’ continued worth in the face of ongoing publicity about the industry’s troubles.
“This one took a little different tact,” Randy Bennett, NAA senior vice president for business development, said about the ad. “To counter the drumbeat of negative news people are seeing about newspapers.”
The ad is essentially a letter from NAA President and CEO John Sturm that offers responses to various “myths” about newspapers and their supposed dwindling relevance.
One example from the ad: “1. Myth: No one reads newspapers anymore. Reality: More than 104 million adults read a print newspaper every day, more than 115 million on Sundays. That’s more people than watch the Super Bowl (94 million), American Idol (23 million) or that typically watch the late local news (65 million).”
It ends by stating: “This is not a portrait of a dying industry. It’s illustrative of transformation. Newspapers are reinventing themselves to focus on serving distinct audiences with a variety of products, and delivering those audiences effectively to advertisers across media channels.”
The Times, as requested by NAA, ran the advertisement at no charge. NAA began asking its 1,500 member newspapers on Tuesday to run the full-pager for free. Bennett said the Times is the only one to run it so far, but others, including The Dallas Morning News and several Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. papers, had agreed to place the ad gratis as well.
“We have not heard from a wide swath of our members,” he said. “We do expect a wide range of newspapers will run the ad.” Asked what impact the Times’ running it has, Bennett said, “it was important to get it into newspapers that regularly serve advertising executives.”
Times officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.