Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Boston Globe Moves to Cover the Market

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Boston Globe Moves to Cover the Market

Article excerpt

Newspaper's subsidiary contracts with direct mailer to print and deliver a new total market coverage publication

The Boston Globe has found the enemy--and hired them.

Globe subsidiary Community Direct turned to direct mailers, natural adversaries of newspapers, when it contracted Beacon Communications to print and deliver a new total market coverage publication. Beacon is New England's largest direct mailer.

Like a lot of other newspapers that operate TMCs, the Globe realized that if it couldn't beat direct mailers, it might as well join 'em.

"I'm not sure we're climbing into bed with the enemy, although you think about that before you do it," said Community Direct president Rick Daniels. "When Beacon saw we were serious, they said, What is better--to fight or take a piece?"

Beacon opted for a piece of the action. It will print and deliver the weekly news and advertising publication to people who do not subscribe to the Globe. The tentative agreement calls for 155,000 homes in 15 communities to be serviced by Beacon carriers, shared mail, or regular mail, "whatever is most efficient," according to Beacon president and CEO Darrow Tully.

The TMC is the foundation of an aggressive effort to win back advertising market share the Globe has been losing to direct mailers. Plans call for Community Direct to offer advertisers total and select market coverage of classified, display and preprinted advertising in a variety of publications.

Using mailers such as Beacon and its own crews of carriers, Community Direct also aims to deliver catalogs and product samples to specific addresses, and is evaluating whether to delve into delivering national magazines.

Eventually, Community Direct expects to offer advertisers 950,000 homes--650,000 non-subscribers and 300,000 subscribers -- out of the area's 1.5 million homes.

The goal is to offer advertisers most of their print advertising needs in one place, making the newspaper more of a full-service advertising vendor rather than a deliverer of preprints in the Sunday paper, Community Direct president Daniels said.

Newspaper analyst Kevin Gruenich of First Boston in New York said that Community Direct and Knight-Ridder Inc.'s ADLAB project at the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press were "an important start to newspapers protecting a franchise that has witnessed erosion in recent years."

The TMC being rolled out in Boston-area communities consists of an eight-page wrapper of national entertainment news stuffed with preprinted ad inserts. Editorial matter is supplied by Globe affiliate BPI Communications, which operates an entertainment news service.

The Globe estimates it has been losing advertising market share to direct mail, which now eats 25%--a $440 million piece--of Boston's advertising pie.

The Globe is trying for a bigger piece by offering the printing and distribution services advertisers are demanding.

"Every newspaper is going to have to do something like this if they are capable. I think it's high time newspapers started looking," Daniels said.

Though most newspapers have TMCs, often they are done reluctantly as a defense strategy and are not as successful as they could be, he argues. …

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