Publishing Co-Ops See Growth in Numbers, Services

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Experian Direct Tech and Abacus Direct hope to satisfy the demand of magazine and newsletter marketers and have expanded participation and added services to their cooperative publishing databases.


Experian Direct Tech's CircBase, Broomfield, CO, has increased its total participants by 86 percent to 162 publications and total names by 16 percent to 44 million since last September. The McGraw Hill Cos. (Business Week and 18 other co-op titles), Primedia (New York and Chicago magazines) and Forbes are among the newest participants.


CircBase, which debuted in May 1998, is projecting an additional 15 percent to 20 percent growth in names to 52 million by the spring, according to Chris Lynde, vice president of information services.


The publishing services division of Abacus Direct, Westminster, CO, which launched in late 1997, has increased its participation by 29 percent to 117 publications since September and identified 37 million names in the overall Abacus Alliance database of 88 million who are active subscribers.


Acxiom/Direct Media, Greenwich, CT, is building its SmartBase for Publishers co-op for an April 1 launch.


By pooling names from the subscriber files of participants, a co-op provides a new source for list rental income and prospecting/reactivation as well as a wealth of data for modeling and profiling. CircBase links its data with that of catalog buyers from its 52-million-name Z-24 catalog co-op, while Abacus publishing services is linked to the Abacus Alliance of 1,000 primarily catalog participants.


Bill Denhard, director of the list management center for McGraw-Hill, Hightstown, NJ, said the extensive amount of demographic and psychographic overlay capability, better modeling and its cost effectiveness versus individual list rental convinced the publisher to participate in CircBase.


"Once the magazines learn more about their lists, it will help with the future marketing and promotion of those lists,'' Denhard said. CircBase will enable McGraw-Hill to allay privacy concerns by blocking sensitive data sources such as children from inclusion in its lists.


Susan Hering, director of circulation sales and marketing for the Massachusetts Medical Society, Waltham, MA, has tried the compiled database Lifestyle Selector from Polk and others, but said they do not work as well as CircBase because of a lack of subscriber information.


Massachusetts Medical, which publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, will seek new prospects for its HealthNews newsletter that has a subscriber base of 90,000. Hering said the current list rental universe for the health newsletter market is too narrowly defined to provide enough prospect names. HealthNews will test CircBase in a 1-million piece prospecting drop in May.


"We are hoping to tap into sections of lists that we couldn't make work before because we didn't have the demographic and psychographic information," she said. "What we found is important to us is not only an interest in health, but also an interest in subscribing to publications. CircBase combines both of those aspects for us."


New publication-specific ZIP code and affinity analysis models now are available to CircBase participants.


Abacus has completed beta testing and now offers two suppression models for its participants, the Sweeps No Undesirable File that identifies consumers who always enter sweepstakes but never purchase a magazine and the Soft Order Suppression file that tracks consumers who subscribe to a magazine but never pay. Eleven participants are testing SNUF and 15 SOS, according to vice president of publishing services Sam Cardonsky.
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