NEWSPAPERS: SPREADING THE NATIONAL DOLLAR THINNER: 'ADVERTISERS LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS THROUGH THE BACK DOOR,' EXEC SAYS

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Newspapers earned $38.2 billion in national advertising dollars during 1996, according to Newspaper Association of America.

But what fraction of that sum actually went into smaller-circulation titles that comprise so much of the market?

That's a figure that's more difficult to determine.

State newspaper associations claim "one-order, one-bill" systems collectively send $200 million into smaller-circulation newspapers (see related story on Page S-4).

A BIG STEP

Newspaper National Network and state associations credit "one-order, one-bill" as a step forward.

There are times, however, when a national advertiser can't justify local ad placement.

According to Pam Israel, assistant media planner, Ketchum Advertising, San Francisco, that's not always practical for client Pacific Telesis Group when it is introducing new services to large markets. Ketchum handles local media buys for Pacific Telesis in California and Nevada.

"There has been an increased concern on the part of advertisers to get into the local markets, but sometimes the products they're launching aren't available at first in those markets," says Ms. Israel.

DISASTER PLAN

On the other hand, other types of messages Ketchum places for Pacific Telesis work better in local venues. Ms. Israel cites an example of a campaign created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for Pacific Telesis touting the company's fast response following a natural disaster. Ketchum made the media buys.

Mary Menard, national advertising manager for Alameda Newspaper Group, which publishes The Oakland Tribune and other Oakland County papers, says most of the Trib's income from national advertisers making NNN buys has been incremental. It's difficult for her to influence a national advertiser's decision to buy in her region through NNN, she says.

"One of the things we have a problem with is if there's [an NNN] buy in part of our region, we find out too late . . . and then there's nothing we can do about it," she says.

As a result, the Trib does not benefit from the buy.

HANDLES NESCAFE

NNN has handled ads for Nestle USA's Nescafe and Merck*& Co. pharmaceuticals in the Trib, but the buying organization's revenue contribution to the paper represents less than 5% of its national ad dollars.

National advertisers, she says, "are looking for more ways to get in through the back door or via retail promotions. Sometimes, they switch their advertising dollars to promotional dollars. The difference hasn't been earth-shaking."

One way NNN is encouraging national advertisers to test the "one-order, one-bill" concept, according to Carol Carasick, NNN's director of media and marketing, is to make ad buys in formats smaller than a page. That's something she says many national advertisers aren't always in the habit of considering.

"I think that may be the way it is, but I do think it's changing. Advertisers are going deepr into their markets," says Sharla Trillo, director of the California Newspaper Network, which handles "one-order, one-bill" buying for California Newspaper Publishers Association.

Ms. Trillo's organization placed $30 million in ads during 1996 and expects to double that this year.

The reason, in part, may be an increase from ad buying that extends beyond California's borders. Out-of-state buys for clients including J.C. Penney Co. and auto body chain Earl Scheib Inc. accounted for 10% of Ms. Trillo's business in 1996. She expects it to account for 20% in 1997.

Regardless of how national advertisers are finding their way into smaller-market newspapers, "National advertisers are becoming more targeted with their

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