Los Angeles Times Hires Draft Chicago to Lift Circulation

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Tribune Publishing Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune, tapped Draft Chicago for the Los Angeles Times account after ruling out two other national agency finalists.

The agency is charged with creating and implementing direct marketing and subscriber retention programs for a newspaper that is fast shedding subscribers in the Los Angeles market. Analytics, strategic planning and research support also are part of the assignment.

"They know that direct marketing is a very important part of their marketing arsenal," said Laurie Nations, senior vice president and group account director at Draft Chicago. "They know that to win in the subscriber acquisition/retention game, they need to become stronger in direct marketing."

There was no incumbent on the account patterned on the role assigned to Draft Chicago. This is the agency's first newspaper client.

Draft Chicago will work primarily on the Times' mail programs. The outreach will try to stem the loss of readers and subscribers in what is possibly one of the most difficult regional markets for broadsheet newspapers nationwide.

The Los Angeles Times' daily circulation from Monday to Saturday for the six months ended March 31 dropped to 907,997 from 970,802 in the year-ago period. Sunday circulation fell from 1.36 million for the six months ended March 2004 to 1.25 million in March 2005.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations has yet to audit the latest claims.

The Times publishes five daily regional editions, including ones for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Orange and Ventura counties, the San Fernando Valley and an Inland Empire edition for Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The paper also produces a national edition.

Draft Chicago, which has clients like CVS/pharmacy, Kellogg Co. and the U.S. Postal Service, has a sizable challenge.

"We're helping them better utilize their data to become more effective and efficient at both acquisition and retention," Nations said. "We just completed the first phase of a subscriber analysis project which will help inform our direct marketing strategies moving forward."

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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