Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Many Papers Test New Circ Tactics

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Many Papers Test New Circ Tactics

Article excerpt

'Home' delivery gets redefined

As its name implies, First Home Builders in Fort Myers, Fla., is a contractor specializing in building houses for young adults buying their first homes. Along with a set of keys, each gets a housewarming gift from First Home: a six-month subscription to The News-Press at no charge.

The arrangement between First Home and The News-Press, an 80,441- circulation Gannett Co. Inc. daily in Fort Myers, is only one of many new circulation-building techniques newspapers are using as a result of liberalized Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) rules defining paid circulation. This sort of tie-in now fits neatly under ABC rules for so-called third-party sales: First Home buys the seven-day home- delivery subscriptions at 25% of the newspaper's basic price -- the maximum discount that still qualifies as paid circulation -- and offers them to customers.

"So far, we're averaging 40 to 50 subscriptions a month," said Circulation Director Steve Ecken. The program started just six months ago, so the paper is in the process of trying to convince the first group to stay subscribers. "We think with these people changing lifestyles, there's a good possibility they will become newspaper readers. We're not going to exploit the 25% rule just to pump numbers," Ecken added. "It's expensive, but if they become long-term subscribers, we'll make that money back real fast."

Those making a move to new homes, in fact, are a target of several newspapers' circulation campaigns. …

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