GREAT IDEAS

The color of money

New ad rates in Lake Charles are color friendly

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Taking advantage of its new press, The American Press in Lake Charles, La., has rolled out new ad rates based on all color.

The difference should be quickly noticed by readers and advertisers since color ads previously made up about 37 percent of the ads in the Shearman family-owned southwest Louisiana newspaper, circulation 24,000 daily and 27,000 Sundays.

"Certain national or major accounts that request black-and-white ads will be honored. Most ads will automatically publish in full color," said Advertising Director Titus Workman.

"So we don't charge extra for color, is basically what happens. All ads automatically run in color. It's not color per inch. It's an automatic thing."

The new rates went into effect July 1. "We have a new press. We're just now going online with it," Workman said. "We're still in the process of ramping it up."

Because it's only been 10 days, it's too soon to measure revenue, but Workman offers what he says is a conservative estimate of $36,000 additional revenue annually. The plan was presented to the recent Mission One: Revenue conference co-sponsored by SNPA and held in Atlanta.

Workman joined The American Press in October from The Daily Herald in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., where he had been publisher. He instituted the color-based rate plan at The Daily Herald and said it was well-received by readers and advertisers. But the plan eventually was dropped after a year because The Daily Herald's old press required multiple sections to run all color and the expense and additional time became too great.

"When we had to go back and we couldn't do it any more we had 10 times more complaints about taking it away than we did when we implemented it," Workman said. Subsequently the Roanoke Rapids paper was sold and the old press was shut down with printing being outsourced.

He expects more success with the new Lake Charles press that has greater capacity and, he hopes, will gain regional printing clients in the future. The new press is a single-wide Tensor with six four-color towers that can print up to 24 broadsheet pages in full color.

The old American Press advertising rate card offered color pricing that was based on six tiers of ad sizes from 10 inches to full page, with color being extra, Workman said. The new rates are based on a single per-inch charge that includes color.

Workman said he looked at the paper's total display inches for the previous year and the percentage of those ads that paid for color. Then he spread the total color revenue over the total number of display inches and added what he called "a modest increase." Using that formula, color was eliminated as a separate charge.

"We wanted to run all the ads in color. It's better. The readers like it better. The advertisers are going to like it better."

The Lake Charles area economy has been doing well of late, especially compared to much of the rest of Louisiana. Workman said that area casinos are drawing tourists and liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing plants are going strong. The area is growing and that, of course, is good for the dominant local newspaper in southwest Louisiana.

"It certainly wasn't a difficult process to go through and do," Workman said about the rate changes. "I've think if you've got a pretty good size press, there's no reason why you can't do this."

For more information, contact American Press Advertising Director Titus Workman at tworkman@americanpress.com.


Jane Nicholes

Jane Nicholes is a veteran journalist based in coastal Alabama and is a regular contributor to SNPA. Reach her at jbnicholes@att.net.

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