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‘New York Times’ to be printed outside U.S. for first time; paper aims to boost circulation in Canada

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The New York Times last week announced that it’s beefing up circulation in Canada through a new agreement with newspaper printer Transcontinental Interweb Toronto, which produces The Globe and Mail, a national Canadian newspaper. It’s the first printing location for the Times outside the U.S. and the first of several print-site expansions slated for the newspaper over the next two years.

Boosting circulation in Canada is one of “the many initiatives we’ve been working on to drive our circulation across North America,” said Ray Pearce, VP-circulation fulfillment at the Times. “Developing a more robust printing and distribution network enables us to build on that from a marketing standpoint.”

By partnering with a Toronto-based printer, the Times will grow its daily circulation in Canada to approximately 13,700 from 5,695, while the Sunday edition will get a hike to nearly 30,000, from about 24,000, according to the newspaper. Distribution will be concentrated in several of Canada’s major cities, including Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

(The total average weekday circulation for the Times for the six-month period through September was 1.1 million, up just about 0.5%, compared with the same period in 2004, according to the latest FAS-FAX report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Circ for the Times’ Sunday edition was 1.7 million, up less than 0.5%.)

The expansion in Canada continues a circulation strategy by the New York Times Co. to introduce its flagship newspaper into markets well beyond its hometown. The Times is currently distributed in 338 markets in the U.S., up from 302 markets in 2004. It now has 21 printing locations across the country, the latest opening in Dayton, Ohio, and Phoenix. The Times will open a printing plant in Houston in 2006.

Todd Haskell, executive director for business development at the Times, said the newspaper hopes to land some significant Canadian advertisers, such as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

“As our brand becomes better known in Canada, we think we’ll be able to help support ad messages” for Canadian companies, he said, adding, however, that “nobody is a Canadian player anymore. Everyone is a global player.”

Marketers that do not wish to be part of the expanded U.S. national edition now have the option of running a free-standing insert in selected markets, Haskell said.

Rob Garrett, managing partner of media merchant bank AdMedia Partners, said the Times’ expansion into Canada will likely be a boon to the Times’ mainstay marketers. “It’ll be great for marketers who wish to target Canada but not a deterrent for those who don’t,” he said.

Although the Times’ circulation strategy is focused on penetrating national U.S. markets and now Canada, the newspaper is taking pains to improve local circulation throughout the New York tri-state area. Circulation in that region, which represents about half the Times’ total circulation, has remained relatively flat in the past few years while the national edition has been growing, according to Diane McNulty, a spokeswoman for the Times.

For instance, the newspaper recently started a pilot program to distribute the weekday edition throughout New York metropolitan-area suburbs an hour earlier, at 5:30 a.m. rather than 6:30 a.m. “People are getting out earlier, so they want their newspaper earlier,” McNulty said.

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