Newspapers Show Some Spunk p. 6

By: John Consoli

Newspapers Show Some Spunk p. 6

CONCERNED ABOUT DECLINING readership and advertising threats from proliferating media competitors, the newspaper industry is beginning to fight back with two programs initiated by the Newspaper Association of America.
“The path to the future is already an obstacle race,” outgoing NAA chairman John Curley said at the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago this week. “We have to clean out the clutter of past practices that simply aren’t going to cut it with advertisers who have more ways, and more places, to spend their money.”
Curley, who is president and CEO of Gannett Co., told fellow executives that newspapers “must continue the good start we’ve made in cleaning up our shop to make us a partner with our advertisers ? rather than the nightmare we’ve sometimes been in the past.”
Curley touted the NAA’s Partners 2000 program, which was announced last fall and initiated at the Billings (Mont.) Gazette on Jan. 8.
Partners 2000 is designed to improve the relationship between the nation’s daily newspapers and advertisers, with the ultimate objective of increasing newspaper market share.
In addition to the Gazette, two other newspapers with Partners 2000 pilot programs are the Record of Bergen County, N.J., and the Dallas Morning News.
Based on the program’s progress at those three newspapers, the plan is to roll out Partners 2000 to newspapers around the country.
Partners 2000 focuses on three areas:
u Making the newspaper rate structure less complicated and easier to understand.
u Improving business and production processes to reduce errors and to focus on work that adds value to newspaper customers.
u Creating a focus on customer service across all newspaper operations.
While a plan to improve service to advertisers and readers is vital to the future of newspapers, Curley said there is also a need to reinforce to advertisers the strengths of newspapers.
“National research shows that when customers seek advertising information for real estate, new or used cars, groceries, major appliances and furniture, about two-thirds or more turn to our newspapers,” Curley said.
“On any given day, 78.2 million adults pick up one of our products,” he said. “Stretch that out to five days and the number climbs to 101.8 million. Three out of four people with incomes between $35,000 and $75,000 read our newspapers. And research now shows that pass-along readership adds 20% to our circulation numbers. We must start promoting our readership numbers like other media do.”
The NAA recently selected the New York City-based Jerry & Ketchum ad agency, chaired by Jerry Della Femina, to design a national advertising campaign for the newspaper industry.
The multimedia campaign is designed to promote reading, education and literacy and to showcase newspapers as a “vital, vigorous medium.” Over time, the goal is to foster greater ad spending in newspapers and to encourage wider readership, therefore increasing circulation.
“It’s ironic that for a medium that so many turn to in telling their stories, we’ve been notably absent in telling our own,” said NAA president and CEO John Sturm. “We have to do a much better job of getting up close and personal with readers and advertisers alike and tell the story of an aggressive, and very relevant business.”
?( “We have to clean out the clutter of past practices that simply aren’t going to cut it with advertisers who have more ways, and more places,
to spend their money”) [Caption]
?(? John Curley, Gannett Co. CEO and outgoing NAA chairman) [Photo & Caption]
?Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com.
?copyright: Editor & Publisher, May 3, 1997.

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