Wednesday, May 09, 2007

BoSacks Speaks Out: Paid Circ Is What Matters says Ad Chief to Publishers

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BoSacks Speaks Out: Paid Circ Is What Matters

Well, here you have it. Right out of the very mouths that feeds us. Please read this article and think about our pursuit of metric changes. And while you're mulling it over . . . I have these two statements for you from the article below:

" . . . our business decisions, like yours, are driven by facts and results,"

Publishers of newspapers and magazines have tried to shift advertisers' focus to overall audience from the established metric, paying subscribers and newsstand buyers.

Get that? . . . The advertisers want facts and results . . They want paying buyers and paid subscribers . . . not fluff, not subterfuge, and surely not smoke and mirrors.

So it seems that we need to look deeply within ourselves and our current business models to deliver what is increasingly becoming the demand and mantra of advertisers and media buyers: Accountability

"Bush, Congress, the mayor - each of them are symptoms of a bigger problem, that we don't have accountability for disasters or challenges of this scale. That's all the public wants in trying times - accountability."
Michael Chertoff

Macy's Ad Chief to Newspapers: Paid Circ Is What Matters
At NAA: Readership May Be Up, but Macy's Wants to Target
NEW YORK ( -- When the latest round of newspaper circulation reports again revealed that paid circulation was continuing to fall, industry advocates pointed out that newspaper readership -- including websites and pass-along copies -- is growing. But Macy's ad chief told newspaper executives today that paid circulation still matters more.

Winning ad dollars, says Macy's Anne MacDonald, requires one thing above all: 'You need to be winning in the marketplace.'

That's because the brand wants to reach its target customer repeatedly and through a platform that matters to her, said Anne MacDonald, president-CMO, Macy's corporate marketing, during a talk at the annual Newspaper Association of America conference. "What we try and do is make sure that we talk to her on a continuous basis," she said.

Not swayed by emotion
Earlier Ms. MacDonald told the crowd she is an "absolute newspaper junkie" and wants to see the business regain its footing. "But our business decisions, like yours, are driven by facts and results," she said. "And they can't be driven by emotion or personal predilection."

Winning ad dollars, she said, requires one thing above all: "You need to be winning in the marketplace."

Publishers of newspapers and magazines have tried to shift advertisers' focus to overall audience from the established metric, paying subscribers and newsstand buyers. Part of the drive reflects growing research suggesting that eyeballs are eyeballs -- as they are in other media -- regardless if anyone paid 50 cents, a dollar or $5 for a publication. But it also dovetails with the reality that free readership, particularly online, is the one circulation measure showing growth.

The perspective from Macy's is particularly important because its parent, Federated Department Stores, buys more than $1 billion in measured media each year, including around $830 million worth of newspaper space. But Federated and Macy's are increasingly looking at national TV and magazines over its stores' traditional homes such as spot TV and newspapers.

Leveraging content online
Ms. MacDonald agreed that newspapers' online plays are important, to the point that publishers' frantic recent efforts aren't close to sufficient. "You need to be much, much more aggressive in leveraging your content online," she said.

But turning around paid circulation declines will require an advertiser's approach, Ms. MacDonald said. "Newspaper will need to think more like brands and more like marketers," she said. "Show the consumer the value in your reports and your columnists."


Macy's to Newspapers: Engage Audiences

By Seth Sutel, AP Business Writer
Macy's Chief Marketing Officer Delivers Tough Love Speech to Newspapers

NEW YORK (AP) -- The chief marketing officer of Macy's department stores delivered tough talk to the newspaper industry Tuesday, telling a publishing conference why her company is moving ad dollars to other media such as TV, magazines and the Internet. Anne MacDonald, a self-proclaimed newspaper "junkie" who keeps stacks of them around her home and reads several each day, told publishers they need to do more to win back business from Macy's, which is part of Federated Department Stores Inc.

With Macy's now a national brand following Federated's acquisition of May Department Stores, the chain is turning increasingly to media with a national reach such as fashion magazines, television and Web sites, she said.

Newspapers are still effective at delivering local messages, she said, but need to do more to engage Macy's shoppers -- primarily women aged 18- 54.

"In order for your newspapers to be winning our advertising dollars, you need to be winning in the marketplace, and that's not currently the case," MacDonald said in a keynote talk at the conference held by the Newspaper Association of America.

Analysts and investors have long been concerned about the decline in ad spending by department stores, and in particular Macy's, as they become national brands and less likely to use local media such as newspapers. Also, newspapers have been struggling with declining circulation and ad dollars as more people get their news online.

Among MacDonald's several suggestions for change was for newspapers to collaborate more effectively across regions and with each other in selling advertising, which would allow national companies such as Macy's to reach a broader audience.

As it is, individual ad buyers for Macy's stores deal with individual newspapers on advertising plans. "That's not productive for either of us," MacDonald said.

She pointed to her own industry, department stores, which had to undergo significant changes over the past several years to adapt to competition from online stores, television shopping channels, big box retailers and discounting clubs.

Macy's, she said, is seeking to establish itself as a more upscale, fashionable brand and drive foot traffic even when there aren't promotions, and is still trying to understand how customers are changing the ways they shop. "Like us, you must change the way you think," she said.

MacDonald pointed to the example of her two favorite sections of her hometown newspaper, The New York Times. Every week she pulls out the science and dining sections and reads them first.

If the Times were to somehow deliver those sections to her wrapped on the outside, she would be impressed that the publisher had learned something about her reading habits, she said.

She also issued a plea to publishers to collaborate with advertisers on research to better understand the rapidly evolving habits of their customers. The idea was immediately embraced by Jack Sweeney, publisher of the Houston Chronicle, who asked MacDonald how to find out what questions they needed answered.

Mark Contreras, senior vice president for newspapers at E.W. Scripps Co., called MacDonald's remarks a "very thoughtful call to action for newspapers to pay very close attention to. .. . We have the wherewithal to meet many of their needs."

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