MediaVenture Launches to Offer Newspaper Circulation DM

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Direct marketing agency Accent Marketing Services and Newspaper Services of America have partnered in an equal joint venture to launch MediaVenture LLC, a start-up dedicated to helping newspapers strengthen relationships with subscribers.

MediaVenture, Louisville, KY, will focus on boosting circulation for newspapers, an industry reporting little increase in per-copy sales last year. Newspaper Services' SmartCirc division, which helps newspapers by profiling their client base to target the pertinent audience, has signed up as the first client.

"We can actually take a newspaper's problem in relation to circulation and brainstorm ways to improve the circulation," said Whitney A. Durs, director of client services at MediaVenture.

The start-up, at, will offer database marketing execution and management, direct marketing strategy and event-driven campaigns. Other offerings include solutions to trim postal costs and targeted telemarketing.

Durs said she saw potential for her agency's service. According to the International Newspaper Marketing Association, only 32 percent of Sunday newspapers and 33 percent of daily newspapers reported an increase in circulation last year. Circulation of daily newspapers in the United States plummeted 10 percent in the 1990s and decreased 11.3 percent from its 1984 peak, to 56 million copies in 1999, the association said. Newspaper circulation over the past 50 years has inched up 4 percent, while the population nationwide has risen 81 percent.

Cable television and now the Internet have diverted consumers, who often think they lack the time for a newspaper. Newspapers have yet to respond adequately to the threat.

"I think one thing they've done traditionally is use mass marketing, tending to go out and blanket the market with direct mail," said Jennifer Meguiar, president of MediaVenture. "What some of the more innovative newspapers are doing is modeling to go after the ideal subscriber."

MediaVenture will target this industry using the resources of its parents. Accent, a 7-year-old agency recently bought by Canadian marketing conglomerate Maxxcom Inc., has telecom and healthcare expertise. Newspaper Services is a newspaper buying and planning organization that places ads, including preprinted inserts, in more than 4,000 newspapers each week.

"We can create the strategy, we can do the design to develop mail pieces for the program, and we can execute the campaign as well as execute any outbound telemarketing or customer service," Durs said. "And then, finally, we can produce detailed analysis, including various reporting methods.

"Our goal," she added, "is to offer customized services to each individual newspaper."

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