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The Associated Press is getting into the newspaper advertising delivery business.

The world's largest newsgathering organization in September will launch AdSEND, a service allowing advertisers and their agencies to transmit advertising electronically to the AP's 1,550 U.S. member newspapers.

AdSEND (Advertising Service for Electronic Newspaper Delivery) will save advertisers time and money, said Tom Brettingen, AP deputy director of new-business development, New York. No longer will advertisers have to print out computer-generated images and ship them overnight to each newspaper, he said. Also, advertisers can place ads closer to newspaper deadlines.

Advertisers will pay only a transmission fee for each insertion, priced comparably with overnight delivery services, at about $10, he said. Volume discounts will be available. AP will supply advertisers and agencies with the required software and outfit its 1,550 member newspapers' computer equipment.

"We're making the entire AP membership accessible [to advertisers]-that's almost every daily in the country," he said. "We believe we'll make newspapers much easier for advertisers to use."

The new service would compete indirectly with overnight delivery services such as Federal Express Corp., United Parcel Service of America and the U.S. Postal Service. But AdSEND will compete directly with AD/SAT, an 8-year-old service used by 180 newspapers representing 55% of newspaper circulation in the U.S. AP's AdSEND will compete by offering greater reach and efficiency, Mr. Brettingen said. But, AD/SAT doesn't intend to give away share.

"We are taking AP's interest in this market very seriously," said David Hilton, president/CEO of AD/SAT, New York. "We will take appropriate action."

AdSEND is expected to appeal to national and regional advertisers, especially retailers. It complements efforts already underway by the Newspaper Association of America to attract national advertisers with competitive pricing and one-order, one-bill invoicing (AA, May 2).

"If they are set up to go to 1,500 newspapers, that's pretty good" reach, said Sheila Flathers, exec VP at the Sunflower Group, an Overland Park, Kan., company specializing in promotional advertising with an emphasis on newspapers. She also is the former director of newspaper advertising for Radio Shack.

"The problem [with AD/SAT] is it did not go to all newspapers. So if you have to mail to one newspaper, then you may as well mail to all of them. Also, anything that allows you to make last minute changes is" welcome, Ms. Flathers said.

The new service also could save advertisers and agencies money by reducing costs of reproducing materials for each newspaper-which can range from $50 to $75-and eliminating overnight delivery charges, said Buddy Parker, print production director at Long Haymes Carr Lintas, Winston-Salem, N.C.

AP will test the service this summer with about 10 advertisers and 20 newspapers. It would not disclose the participants until plans have been finalized, expected in a few weeks. AP also would not disclose its investment in the program.

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