Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Selling the Farm

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Selling the Farm

Article excerpt

Rural Missouri, Texas Co-op Power, South Dakota - these aren't exactly the kinds of titles to excite a big-city media buyer. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to get excited about.

In fact, thanks to the National Country Market (NCM), a year-old ad network designed to tout the purchasing power of consumers in hard-to-reach C and D counties, more media buyers are taking notice of magazines like Rural Missouri.

The 17 titles represented by NCM - including Oklahoma Living and Rural Electric Nebraskan - are all owned by not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives. In the 1930s, the magazines helped promote the coops in their battle against private utilities. Over time, most of the 32 statewide publications have adopted a general-interest format while still pursuing their original mission. Few average more than 40 total pages per issue.

The main selling point of NCM is that it allows media planners to make an uncomplicated group buy. "It's more efficient to buy through them because it's a one-stop shop," says Brett Axton, president of Colorado Springs-based RMR Companies, an ad agency that handles many agricultural products. Media buyers send one set of slides and one check to NCM, which then distributes the art and money to the individual titles.

Rural but responsive

Since launching in July 1994, the network has brought more than $1 million in revenue and 351 ad pages to the member publications. "With what's happening in the paper industry and with postage, we knew we had to do something with ad revenue," says George Macias, chairman of NCM's advisory board and director of publications at Austin-based Texas Co-op Power. "We hope to get to those institutional advertisers who have heretofore ignored our publications."

According to a 1994 survey by Research USA, Inc., 78.5 percent of NCM readers made purchases by mail or phone in the past year, and the average amount spent during the year was $425. …

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