Austin American-Statesman's New Consolidated Media Report Represents Its Brand Reach

Situation

The Austin American-Statesman has grown into a diverse media brand that includes the primary newspaper, nine community newspapers, Ahora Si, Statesman.com, Austin 360.com, social media channels, Stat (Sunday Direct delivery), and Red Plum, a TMC product on Wednesdays. It also recently launched Hookem.com, which covers UT Austin sports.

Issue

The Statesman needed a trusted report to show advertisers its portfolio of products. While traditional ABC reports such as Publisher’s Statements and Audit Reports present a picture of the ABC-member newspaper, theStatesman wanted to include products that don’t typically qualify on ABC reports, but contributed to the newspaper’s brand.


Solution

ABC’s Consolidated Media Report gives U.S. and Canadian newspapers the option of creating a custom report that includes any media products that ABC can audit. After talking with ABC staff, Harry Davis, vice president of circulation for the Statesman, decided that the CMR would be a good fit for their publications.

Results

In 2010 the Statesman released its initial CMR for the six months ending March 31 and a second report for the six months ending Sept. 30. This year, the Statesman is scheduled to release two more CMRs. “As we move forward as an industry and more people use this report, it will become the standard for advertisers. I’ve had conversations with advertisers who really like the report, and I think it will become a huge tool for the industry,” Davis said.

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In the example of the Austin American-Statesman, Davis wanted a way to present advertisers with a range of print and digital channels.

“Advertisers need to understand what the Statesman does in the marketplace,” he said. “We have the Statesman, our community newspapers, a Spanish newspaper, Statesman.com. These are all part of the Statesman and show how we touch the marketplace with print and more.”

The first two CMRs incorporated information about the primary newspaper, Ahora Si, nine community weekly newspapers, Audience-FAX print and online readership data, Facebook fans and Twitter followers. The reports also included a graph by day of the week.

“It shows exactly what we are putting out in the market for that particular day. Advertisers can look at Thursday and see everything that we produced for that day. That’s more transparent to me,” he said.

With positive advertiser response from the first two CMRs, Davis decided to move forward with planning the next CMRs. “Since then, we’ve looked at other papers’ CMRs to get ideas of what we could do for our next report,” Davis said.

The report’s flexibility allows publishers to report data from a variety of channels. Newspapers are reporting Facebook fans, Twitter followers, website traffic, free publications, maps, custom demographics, market statistics and promotional graphics on their CMRs. Because ABC audits all data on the report, advertisers are given comparable, trusted figures.

Although plans for the Statesman’s upcoming CMRs aren’t final, Davis intends to create more robust, customized reports with an updated front cover, graphs to show the different products, and maps to illustrate penetration by ZIP code.

“I think this will become the standard around the industry to show a newspaper’s portfolio of products,” Davis said. “We use the CMRs to show advertisers what the Statesman can do for them. I think we’ll see more and more newspapers use it in the next couple years.”

Davis also had advice for newspapers considering their first CMR. “Make sure to go to the ABC site and review what others have done to see what you want to highlight and how you might want to structure yours,” he said. “Have a conversation with ABC about what you want to audit and what you might need to have audited.”

Davis added that meeting with internal advertising and editorial staff can help determine your portfolio. “It is going to be the future for newspapers. I think the faster we all get on board, the better it will be for the entire industry.”


For more information about ABC’s Consolidated Media Report for newspapers, members are encouraged to contact an ABC marketing and sales manager.

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