Times Co. hawks global paper buy

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The New York Times Co., faced with the need to stem losses at its International Herald Tribune, has begun to approach key clients with a global newspaper buy for that property and its flagship The New York Times.

Among the early adopters of such a buy, said New York Times' senior VP-advertising Jyll Holzman, are watchmaker Movado, EDS and New York University. Ms. Holzman said the Times Co.'s efforts began in early January, when it took over full ownership of the IHT. Previously, global buys were handled by both staffs of the Times Co. and the Washington Post Co.-its former partner in IHT-on an as-needed basis.

The Times Co. bought out The Post Co.'s stake for $65 million last October, after decidedly heavy-handed negotiations. At the time of the sale, a memo from Post Co. executives said they had "little choice" but to sell, given that the Times Co. had "said it would start its own international edition." A Times spokeswoman said this was one of many options discussed. Both companies confirmed IHT was not profitable.

customized

Currently the IHT's one-time black-and-white ad page rate for both its Asian and Atlantic editions is $62,068. (The Atlantic edition goes to Europe and the Middle East.) Its total circulation is about 265,000.

The corporate rate-which primarily covers financial advertising-for a corresponding page in the Times is $135,626. Ms. Holzman said thus far ad packages were being done on a "customized" basis and that no rate card for a buy of both papers had yet been established.

Tom Mattia, VP-global communications and advertising at EDS, said his company previously had not advertised in the IHT. EDS had advertised across a global swath of The Wall Street Journal and will continue to do so, he said. But the Times Co. offered a package of the Times in North America and the IHT's Atlantic edition, "which was very proactively priced," he said, without elaboration. EDS' corporate campaign in the Times and IHT began in early March and will run at least though April.

Ms. Holzman did not divulge how much incremental revenue the Times and IHT hoped to net from the new buy, but said revenues at the IHT had already increased owing to the new packages. A Post Co. spokeswoman said a company executive characterized the Post's previous take from global deals as "extraordinarily modest."

Ed Atorino, an analyst for New York investment firm Blaylock & Partners, said he expected the incremental revenues from Tribune Media Net-in which the Tribune Co. sells ads across its national portfolio of dailies-to be "many times" what the Times Co.'s take from the global buys would be. Earlier this month, Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons told analysts that Tribune Media Net resulted in about $60 million in revenue in `02 and that the company hoped for $70 million in '03.

welcome dollars

All the same, Mr. Atorino said in an environment where revenue growth is "really tough," any extra dollars were welcome.

EDS's Mr. Mattia dismissed concerns about having marketing messages out when war appears imminent. "Our messages are all focused on delivering client services," he said, adding they were "not light-hearted" at all. "That's got to be there regardless of any external events."

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