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African-american newspaper inserts are becoming an increasingly popular vehicle for national advertisers -- especially those that cover consumer categories that may otherwise be untapped.

According to Target Market News' s study "The Buying Power of Black America," estimated income for the consumer group is $392 billion. African-Americans spend $21 billion on new and used vehicles; $3.9 billion on education; $2.1 billion on entertainment and leisure and $553 million on computers and accessories.

Among advertisers trying to reach the segment, targeted newspaper inserts have gained credibility in the last five years, says Abner McWhorter, publisher of Our PC. Our PC is distributed as an insert in newspapers in the top 40 African-American newspaper markets, including the Amsterdam (N.Y.) News, Chicago Defender, Los Angeles Sentinel News and Michigan Chronicle.


"Five years ago [the insertion trend] got hotter. It's considered a risky business. It hasn't been proven legit, but the growing number of ads is helping them gain credibility," says Mr. McWhorter.

African Americans On Wheels, a quarterly publication with an Audit Bureau of Circulations circulation of 750,000 and average issue size of 48 pages, targets the auto enthusiast. Advertisers include BMW of North America, Ford Motor Co., Jaguar North America and Toyota Motor Sales USA's Lexus division.

"Our insert works because most black papers don't have an automotive section," says Randi Payton, publisher of Wheels. "We're providing a need for those papers circulating in black urban and suburban communities."

"[Wheels] allows us to effectively reach the minority market," says Steve Odell, VP-marketing and sales for Jaguar.

"Our business objective is to increase our sales penetration of the luxury segment throughout all of the minority market. It's our opportunity to get a relevant message of Jaguar into the minority market."

According to National Newspaper Publishers Association, 210 of the 300 African-American daily and weekly newspapers are now audited by the ABC and BPA and other auditing services.


"There's a misconception about African-American newspapers," says Ernest Pitt, chairman of Amalgamated Publishers, a sales rep company that sells for 200 African-American papers. "They're basically community newspapers that get people where they live.

Our PC is being audited by the ABC. Black Entertainment Television's 10-times-a-year BET Weekend -- which does not circulate exclusively in African-American newspapers -- also in the process of an ABC audit. Health Quest, which publishes six issues per year, is in the process of a BPA audit. It is not inserted exclusively in African-American dailies.

Diversity Publishing Co.'s Education Highway is a quarterly insert attracting national advertisers such as AT&T Corp., General Motor Corp.'s Chevrolet division, Bell Atlantic Corp. and McDonald's Corp.

The 2-year-old Highway -- with a BPA-audited circulation of about 500,000 -- averages 10 pages per issue and editorial content features profiles on African-American colleges and universities. It is distributed at no charge in African-

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