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Prill is gone at ABC, Target.

Newspapers may have suffered a double setback this month. They will lose a key ally on the advertiser-dominated Audit Bureau of Circulations board when Terry Prill gives up her membership, as a result of retiring two weeks ago from her job as newspaper strategist at Target Corp. Her departure from Target also puts in question whether the retail biggie will veer from its heavy use of newspapers.

Prill's passion for newspapers gave her a rare ability to understand and seek policies that served both advertisers' and newspapers' needs, former board colleagues said. "It's a loss," said Rob Althaus, a board member and vice president of circulation for Gannett Co. Inc. "I think she was unusual to the extent that she was a consensus-builder.... I think she helped change... the obstacles of the industry in thinking about why readership, and not net paid circulation, is something very important."

As a member of the board's strategic planning and marketing committees, Prill was instrumental in the creation of the increasingly popular ABC Reader Profile service that audits newspaper readership. She also helped shape recent major changes in the rules defining paid circulation. She has joined advertisers calling for newspapers to report circulation by day of the week and for the need for the ABC to audit free papers, issues that have created more than a little discomfort among publishers. Prill also supported an ongoing effort to bring accountability to newspapers' advertising insert process.

The 36-member ABC board is expected to vote on a successor during the next ABC conference, Nov. 5-8.

Target spent $216.9 million, or 41.9% of its media budget, in newspaper ROP advertising and inserts last year, making it the medium's 13th biggest advertiser among parent companies, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. It spends a smaller portion of its media budget in newspapers than do old-line discounters such as Sears and Kmart, but far more than new discount retail giants such as Wal-Mart and Costco, according to Deutsche Bank research.

"I think Terry was ultimately responsible for the implementation of a lot of these strategies," said John E. Kimball, senior vice president of the Newspaper Association of America, which in January honored Prill with its first Newspaper Advertising Person of the Year award.

Kimball said he hopes that her as-yet unnamed successor, in evaluating Target's media plan, will "keep in mind what has certainly been a very successful strategy up to this point."

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Title Annotation:Terry Prill gives up her membership to the Audit Bureau of Circulations
Comment:Prill is gone at ABC, Target.(Terry Prill gives up her membership to the Audit Bureau of Circulations)
Author:Moses, Lucia
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 29, 2003
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