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Advertising aggravation.

Advertising Aggravation

The January 5, 1991, Editor and Publisher magazine reported that the Arkansas Gazette's losses. declined by eight percent in 1990 and improvements were expected this year.

If so, that reverses a trend of multimillion dollar losses that had climbed past $20 million by 1989. (Contrary to Editor and Publisher's report, one New York stock analyst says as of December, the Gazette had reported losses of $22 million.)

And there have been recent changes that have garnered positive attention and acclamation for the paper - the beefed-up business section, the special New Car News publication, and the comprehensive war coverage.

But it will take advances in advertising - not just editorial - to combat financial losses. And editorial hasn't yet attracted the advertisers the Gazette needs to make financial gains.

Arkansas Inc., the Gazette's weekly business tabloid, debuted with 28 pages on Sept. 10, 1990, and featured 663 inches of retail advertising - much of it sold at greatly reduced rates to advertisers who appeared in the weekend classified section.

Over its five-month existence, Arkansas Inc. has mostly been 20 to 24 pages in length and retail advertising inches have dwindled to lows in the hundreds - once even dipping down to just over 95 inches.

While January is traditionally the worst month of the year to sell ads, Arkansas Inc.'s problem is especially acute because its small percentage of ad space is practically given away.

Riverside Motors Inc. stole the back cover of the Feb. 4 issue for $300-$400 - a price at which other publications sell quarter-page ads. Riverside even got free color for its token investment.

Advertising for New Car News isn't fairing much better.

The first issue, with 24 pages, included 1,287 inches of free advertising. Next, the publication appeared at 20 pages two issues in a row, with 741 inches of retail advertising in each. The Jan. 31 New Car News dropped to 12 pages and 351 inches. That's only 37.5 percent of the section going towards advertising - down from 68 percent when the publication debuted.

While losses have supposedly declined, it's a mystery how the Gazette can keep introducing more sections to the paper at bargain - if not give-away - prices, without losing more money.

Gazette Publisher Craig Moon has said in the past that the bottom line doesn't matter as much as market share - how many advertisers his paper features versus the number in the Democrat.

While the Gazette has been known to start new sections or publications by offering great enticements to lure advertisers for the future, if the advertisers don't bite the bait soon, Gazetter losses will inevitably increase again.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Arkansas Gazette's financial losses
Author:Rengers, Carrie
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Feb 11, 1991
Previous Article:The quiet canary.
Next Article:Changing the tune.

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