Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Head to Head Sundays in N.J.: The Record Begins Six-Month Test Pitting USA Weekend against Incumbent Parade

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Head to Head Sundays in N.J.: The Record Begins Six-Month Test Pitting USA Weekend against Incumbent Parade

Article excerpt

A SUBURBAN NEW Jersey daily is distributing both Parade and USA Weekend Sunday magazines for the next six months, and will let readers decide which they want.

The Record, based in Hackensack, in the wealthy New York City suburbs of Bergen County, has carried Parade for years. It began the test of USA Weekend recently, adding the nationally distributed magazine to its Sunday edition,with a 212,855 circulation.

After six months getting both magazines, readers will be asked in surveys and call-ins which they prefer.

"We finally felt it was time to give our readers a chance to be involved with what's in the paper," said John Kimball,vice president of sales.

Kimball acknowledged readers have been satisfied with Parade for a long time. But since USA Weekend "has been trying to add us to their list for a long time" he agreed to let them face off in a showdown.

The test just happens to end around the time the Record's contract with Parade comes up for renewal. Dave Barber, vice president of newspaper relations at USA Weekend, said this is the first case in which the full run of a newspaper has tested USA Weekend for six months.

"Sometimes newspapers just want to make sure research jives before they switch," Barber said.

But according to Carlo Vittorini, CEO and publisher of Parade, never before has a head-to-head test resulted in a newspaper replacing Parade with USA Weekend.

Though 46 of the 88 papers USA Weekend has added in the past year have come at the expense of Parade, none followed test marketing.

"To the best of our knowledge, they haven't won any papers when they've done an editorial test,'Vittorini said, adding that he would be aware of such tests because of the agreements Parade has with newspapers.

Vittorini said USA Weekend picked up papers from such groups as Thomson, Donrey and Multimedia, which was acquired by USA Weekend parent Gannett Co. …

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