NICC Is Sold To Associated Press

By: Todd Shields

The Newspaper Industry Communication Center (NICC) — an ad-placement, billing, and tear-sheet service — has been sold to The Associated Press by the Newspaper Association of America, the AP and NAA announced Wednesday.

Neither side disclosed a price for the deal.

The AP said the move would complement enhanced offerings of its New York-based AdSend digital-delivery service, which will be meshed over time with NICC’s processing operations in Sacramento, Calif.

“Our goal is to make it easier to buy newspaper advertising,” said AP President and CEO Louis D. Boccardi. He said the purchase boosts AdSend’s value as the industry becomes comfortable with digital planning and production.

NICC’s operations will continue without interruption, and employees at its Sacramento headquarters will become AP employees, the wire service said.

NICC in recent years had spent $16 million developing a Web-based ad-management system called “eio” (electronic insertion order), but attracted few customers for it. The deal, which closed late Tuesday, includes eio.

Despite its difficulties with eio, NICC remained a major player in newspaper ad-placement. Its biggest client is the Newspaper National Network, an NAA affiliate.

NAA President and CEO John Sturm called the deal good for newspapers because it integrates NICC’s ad-management system with AP’s existing digital service.

NAA announced development of NICC in 1998, and it began working on back-office tasks such as billing the following year with NAA’s acquisition of the Complete Newspaper Network in Sacramento.

“We believe our work on the NICC was fundamentally important to the industry,” Sturm said. “We’re extremely pleased that NAA’s development efforts will be carried forward by AP.”

AP said AdSend has handled the placement of 6.5 million ads since being founded in 1994.

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