Last week, The Sun began advertising in City Paper as part of the daily newspaper’s campaign to increase its flagging circulation. The Sun will pay City Paper around $19,000 to insert loose subscription postcards in this paper for four weeks.
While it’s not common for a newspaper to advertise in a competing publication, it’s “good business strategy,” says John Murray, head of circulation marketing at the Newspaper Association of America. “You go where the readers already are.”Daily newspapers in Albany, N.Y., Madison, Wis., and Pittsburgh, Pa., have also advertisted in alt-weeklies in their markets.
For its part, The Sun doesn’t consider the weekly City Paper a competitor, says the daily’s director of marketing, Linda Geeson—though the insert does tout the Sun’s weekly “LiVE!” arts and entertainment pullout section.
City Paper publisher Don Farley says he was initially wary of accepting the Sun’s advertising offer, but was persuaded by his own sales staff that it might augment their efforts.
That was the logic behind the Palo Alto Weekly’s decision to run ads from the daily San Jose Mercury News several years ago. “We gladly took their multiple thousands of dollars,” writes the Weekly’s vice president of sales, Franklin Elieh, in an e-mail. “In fact, we used it against them on sales calls . . . telling advertising prospects: ‘Look where the daily is spending its money.’”