The St. Petersburg Times Uses ABC’s Consolidated Media Report to Demonstrate Circulation Growth and Showcase Strength in Tampa Bay Area
The St. Petersburg Times has served the Tampa Bay area for more than 125 years. As the flagship product for Times Publishing Company, the St. Petersburg Times has been an ABC member for nearly 60 years and participates in several additional ABC services, including IVS, Audience-FAX, and CDVS.
Like many newspapers, the company has a variety of products to reach its target audiences across the Tampa Bay area, including the St. Petersburg Times, tbt* Tampa Bay Times, a free daily tabloid targeted to the young professional, tb-two*, a weekly publication for high school students, and Hillsborough SMC, a free publication for households in Hillsborough County and neighboring areas in Pasco County.
The Times brand is comprised of more than just the daily newspaper and it needed a way to convey that story to advertisers.
The St. Petersburg Times decided to issue a Consolidated Media Report, a standalone ABC document, to show its total media footprint and to provide the independent third-party verification advertisers need to incorporate those products in their media plans.
Advertiser feedback has been positive and the St. Petersburg Times plans to use the CMR to show its continued advancement in circulation gains and strength in multimedia products.
Craig W. Holley, deputy director, consumer marketing for the St. Petersburg Times, explains his initial reaction to the Consolidated Media Report.
“We were excited about the opportunity to tell our story of reach and audience growth using a document issued by a credible source like ABC that is familiar to our advertising partners,” he said.
Determining what information to include on the report involved numerous departments to ensure the end product would meet the needs of the paper’s advertisers.
What can be included on the Consolidated Media Report?
- Paid newspaper circulation
- Free distribution
- Non-paid newspapers
- E-mail newsletters
- Text alerts
- Mobile distribution
- Website traffic
- Print readership
- Online readership
- Social media metrics
ABC staff will work with newspapers to test the reporting and auditing of any product a newspaper wants to include on the report.
“We brought together marketing, advertising and circulation to discuss the merits of which brands to include,” continued Holley. “In the end, the decision was made to use the CMR as a resource for our suite of printed products.”
In its inaugural report for the March 2010 reporting period, the St. Petersburg Times featured circulation data for the tbt* Tampa Bay Times, tb-two* and Hillsborough SMC. The Times’ expansive report also includes colorful distribution maps and a detailed Paragraph 3 that breaks out circulation for the St. Petersburg Times, tbt* Tampa Bay Times and Hillsborough SMC by ZIP code.
“We want someone who is unfamiliar with the Tampa Bay region to view the CMR and feel the power and breadth of the Times brand and suite of print products that cover the region,” explained Holley. “We also considered how our sales executives tell the story to advertising partners. Then we reviewed a variety of internal reports and marketing materials to lay out the story. The maps and expanded Paragraph 3 information came together to paint a clear picture.”
Holley and the ad sales staff at the Times are pleased with the final results. “One of the best benefits is that the CMR provides a snapshot of our products, especially our expanding multimedia products and services,” he said. “Plus, the report clearly tells our story of growth. We’ve had great feedback from advertisers.”
Holley has some advice for other newspapers considering ABC’s CMR.
“The CMR is a valuable tool,” he emphasized. “Seek input from the key stakeholders in your organization. Be creative; do not be bound by any preconceptions of traditional ABC reports.”
For more information about ABC’s Consolidated Media Report for newspapers, members are encouraged to contact a newspaper marketing manager.
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