Gannett Co., one of the nation’s largest newspaper chains, will try to expand its advertising and circulation revenue by inserting parts of its flagship newspaper, USA Today, into its local newspapers.
The company is expected to announce its plans Wednesday morning at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.
Beginning in January, Gannett will add 12 to 14 pages of USA Today content each day to 35 newspapers in its largest markets, including the Journal News in White Plains, N.Y., the Tennessean in Nashville and the Cincinnati Enquirer. That means readers, along with their local news, will get a broader mix of news from the USA Today content.
Gannett has been testing the program at four papers — in Indianapolis; Rochester, N.Y.; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Appleton, Wis. — since October and plans to add the new markets throughout the first quarter of 2014. Eventually it plans to extend the program to all of its 81 local newspaper markets.
The plan represents a major move for Gannett, which experienced a deep dip in third-quarter advertising revenue this year compared with 2012, when it benefited from advertising associated with the Olympics and the presidential election season. By incorporating USA Today into local papers, Gannett is able to increase the national paper’s circulation by roughly 1.5 million readers during the week and 2.5 million readers Sundays, and then try to sell advertising against these larger numbers.
According to the Alliance for Audited Media, USA Today has 2.876 million weekday readers for both the print and digital editions, with just over 1.3 million of those for the printed paper.
The USA Today inserts will include national and financial news as well as lifestyle coverage; additional sports content will be integrated into the local sports sections.
NEW YORK TIMES