Newspapers are beginning to follow the lead of magazines to make its sales to automotive clients more comprehensive. No longer is it just good enough to sell manufacturers an ad in a newspaper and leave it at that. Now newspapers are joining with auto companies to give the client more bang for the buck.
They are more willing to tie in promotions with clients - for example, having vehicles at certain venues such as zoos and concerts.
They are providing clients with the ability to weave Internet advertising onto newspaper Web sites.
Clients now are getting complete make-goods for incorrect ads, vs. only getting a percentage of the ad that ran wrong just a couple of years ago.
'The preponderance of other media has caused us to fight harder,' says Gayle Champagne, vice president and national automotive sales director for the Newspaper National Network. 'The newspapers were passive because we were the medium of choice.'
NNN was formed in 1995 after Cathie Black, then president of the Newspaper Association of America, decided something had to be done to reverse sliding revenues at newspapers. Ads from large national companies, such as automotive, had dropped to less than 5 percent of total newspaper revenues, from as much as 50 percent in the 1960s and early 1970s. Newspapers were losing money primarily to cable and direct mail.
So Black, who now is president of Hearst Corp.'s Magazine Division in New York, convened several meetings that produced NNN, which represents 1,600 weeklies and 3,200 dailies as a total package.
NNN, which is funded by 47 of the nation's largest newspapers and newspaper companies:
Does all negotiating for the newspapers so clients do not have to deal with separate newspapers in each market.
Offers clients one rate for all newspaper buys based on a per-thousand readership.
Requires only one set of ad materials that the network duplicates and distributes to each newspaper.
Collects tear sheets, monitors reproduction quality and manages all billing, providing clients with reports in 48 hours -vs. two to three weeks under the old system.
'We decided we needed to re-establish the business if we wanted to get the dollars back,' Champagne says.
Automotive dealers still represent more than 90 percent of all automotive buys with newspapers. But between 1994 and 1997, automakers spent 33 percent more
with national newspapers. Spending declined with local papers between 1994 and 1996, but has risen since 1997.