FARM MAGAZINES YIELDING PROMISE FOR INTERACTIVITY

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Farm publications are attracting attention as a potential font of information for database marketing and interactivity uses.

With a report that the Tribune Co. is investigating buying the five titles of Farm Journal Inc., the extent of farm publications' databases is becoming more widely known.

Traditionally, farm titles have tried to tailor their editorial and advertising to specific readers' crops, production and geography. Years ago, that meant titles published by state and editorial matter that switched between geographic areas.

Selective binding and database marketing, however, have greatly increased the sophistication of many farm publishers. For example, selective binding has been used since 1982 at Farm Journal titles Farm Journal, Beef Today, , Hogs Today and Top Producer.

The Tribune Co.'s interest in Farm Journal-first reported by Crain's Chicago Business-coincides with the Tribune Co.'s own interest in expanding its database efforts.

Tribune Co. officials last week declined any comment on negotiations with Farm Journal. Dale Smith, president of Farm Journal, acknowledged talking with the Tribune Co. but said no deal had been signed.

The Tribune's Co. interest comes as farm books begin to see some growth in advertising-if not yet in revenues-after a long slump.

Agricom, a St. Joseph, Mo., company that tracks the top 53 agriculture books, reported that linage rose 3.7% in 1993 to 11,694,157 inches but revenue dropped 2.3% to $115.8 million. Still, it was the first increase in pages in several years.

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