Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Access Atlanta Gets Its First Local Advertiser

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Access Atlanta Gets Its First Local Advertiser

Article excerpt

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution and Prodigy Services Co. are offering a service that provides on-line news and information as well as advertising by local retailers to Prodigy subscribers in the Atlanta area.

The service, Access Atlanta, will operate on the Prodigy platform and has landed its first local advertiser.

Journal and Constitution parent Cox Newspapers began Access Atlanta in 1991 to gain familiarity with on-line services, and it grew to reach about 1,000 subscribers. The deal with Prodigy provides a potential local customer base of 25,000 or more.

Cox dailies in three other states also are expected to go on line with Prodigy.

The new Access Atlanta includes longer versions of newspaper stories; more local news and listings than appear in the printed newspapers; subscribers' on-line reports and communications with editors; searchable local advertising, including classified ads; and eventually photographs.

For print, "the cost of newsprint is the limiting factor," said Cox Newspapers president David Easterly. "We can only print about 10% of the information we have available on an average day."

The ability to search ads electronically according to specific needs or preferences is important in making on-line newspapers more convenient and useful to subscribers.

"We are investing in equipment and software to set up an operation to float information and sell advertising locally in Atlanta, mounted on the Prodigy platform," said David Scott, publisher of electronic information services at Access Atlanta.

Prodigy has an "open network" system, allowing outside information sources to create stand-alone services that tie into Prodigy. Other newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Tampa Tribune, Newsday and New York Newsday also are planning similar services on Prodigy, America Online or CompuServe.

The Journal and Constitution are the first Cox newspapers to offer the service, Scott said, and "we will eventually bring up additional Cox papers."

Rich's Federated Department Store is the first local retailer to advertise on Access Atlanta.

"Right now, our single sale has been to Rich's, and we've made lots of presentations. There will be a couple of others I think we will announce directly," Scott said. …

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