The McClatchy Company and the Merced Sun-Star Jump to Participate in ABC’s Preprint Projection Center

Efforts Rewarded With Increased Buy From National Retailer


The McClatchy Company is the third largest newspaper company in the United States with 30 daily newspapers and 50 non-daily newspapers. In addition to print newspapers, McClatchy also operates websites in each of its local markets to further extend its audience reach. McClatchy-owned newspapers include The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, The Kansas City Star, the Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer (Raleigh).

The Merced Sun-Star, which serves Merced, Calif. and its surrounding areas has been an ABC member since 1958. The newspaper had a weekday total average paid circulation of 14,595 copies for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2008. In addition to its print circulation, the newspaper also reports audited website traffic activity via the Audience-FAX program.


According to McClatchy’s 2008 fourth quarter consolidated statistical report, the company delivered more than 627 million preprint inserts across its newspaper properties in December 2008 alone.

For the McClatchy newspapers, including the Merced Sun-Star, keeping valuable preprint advertisers up-to-date on the latest quantities, zones, dates, frequencies and bonus days is always a challenge. The process of contacting each individual advertiser to provide updates is time-consuming, labor-intensive and inefficient.


The McClatchy Company made a corporate commitment that all of its newspapers would participate in ABC’s Preprint Projection Center to ensure preprint advertisers had unfettered, centralized access to all its newspapers’ latest circulation projections.


The Merced Sun-Star was one of the first 10 newspapers to begin uploading its circulation projection data in the PPC. Within a month, a national advertiser increased its draw based solely on the informationMerced Sun-Star provided through the PPC.

Launched in April 2008, ABC’s Preprint Projection Center is a secure, centralized area on ABC’s website where newspapers can upload any information related to their circulation projections for use by preprint advertisers, including preprint quantities, zones, dates, bonus days and frequency upgrades. All information entered into the PPC is confidential and only viewed by registered advertisers, never by other newspapers or the press.

A collaborative initiative among newspaper publishers and preprint advertisers, the PPC is designed to streamline communication between sellers and buyers and reduce the amount of time each party spends contacting individual newspapers and advertisers.

“Participating in ABC’s Preprint Projection Center is the right thing to do for advertisers, particularly for advertisers that do business in multiple markets,” commented Mc- Clatchy’s Steve Bernard, corporate vice president of advertising. “This gives us another opportunity to make newspapers easier to do business with and that’s our job— to provide advertisers with the information they need.”

Hank VanderVeen, publisher of the Merced Sun-Star agreed, “The PPC allows us to make more timely changes. Now we may not even need to make that phone call because the advertiser has already pulled the information they need from the center.”

VanderVeen added, “We always struggled to get advertisers to send in more inserts. Within a month, one of our national retail advertisers increased its draw based solely on what they’d seen in the PPC.”

Advertisers aren’t the only proponents of the McClatchy papers’ participation in the PPC. The ad sales department is also responding favorably to the new online tool.

“The ad sales people are very pleased to offer another tool to the advertisers,” said Bernard. “They understand better than anyone that our previous technique for providing advertisers with circulation projections was cumbersome and time-consuming. Now advertisers don’t have to communicate with their ad sales reps just to access fresh numbers.”

VanderVeen and Bernard also have reassuring words for newspapers concerned that participating in the PPC will take up too much of their time.

“It’s real simple,” VanderVeen said. “The program allows you to use whatever format you already have your data in. All you have to do is upload your own spreadsheet or other document. That’s it. There’s absolutely no reformatting and you can post new projections as often as you want.”

Bernard agreed, “It’s really simple to use and get running,” he said. “It’s easy to provide updated numbers and the numbers are easy for advertisers to interpret.

Bernard also explained that he’d like to see newspapers educate their advertisers on the PPC and tout their participation.

“Each individual newspaper needs to make sure all their advertisers are aware of the PPC and encourage them to use it,” he said. “Newspaper participation and advertiser use of the PPC really needs to be promoted throughout the entire industry, especially for the larger advertisers.”

Bernard added, “I invite all other newspapers in the industry to climb on board. Together we can make a difference in the way we do business with advertisers and become better partners with our customers.”

VanderVeen also believes in the value of the PPC, “The PPC is better for everybody—it’s exactly what the advertisers want and that’s what we want. How do we know it’s what advertisers want? Because at least 75 percent of our major advertisers are pulling our data from the PPC. Hats off to ABC for creating an online tool that really benefits its members.”

Preprint Projection Center Stats (as of 2/18/09):

64 registered advertisers or advertising agencies

201 U.S. newspapers providing preprint advertisers with circulation projections

For more information about participating in the Preprint Projection Center, members are encouraged to contact your newspaper marketing manager.

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