RedEye, the Tribune Co.’s free daily, recently reached 100,000 opt-in subscribers for its home-delivered weekend edition. DMNews chatted with Brad Moore, general manager of RedEye, about growing circulation.
You’re at 100,000 now, but what was your starting point?
About 15 months ago, we started considering whether we should offer a weekend edition. We wanted to do it for free because RedEye is free, and the basis of our business model is if you can get subscribers to the home product, you can attract pre-print advertisers.
We launched with essentially no one signed last May. We started marketing for it two months out, and by the launch had 10,000 or so people. Over the past year, we have been sampling copies in the market; the samples served as the marketing vehicle to get people to sign up and also to guarantee a certain draw for advertisers.
What sort of marketing strategies do you use for RedEye?
A lot of subscribers came from ads in RedEye — it has a built-in following.
We didn’t find direct mail to be all that successful, and that might tie to the demographic that we serve — they perhaps don’t respond as well to direct mail. We did do some phone calls, and that was more successful for us.
We also do a lot of events at RedEye, and we take advantage of those to sign people up on location. Then, throughout the course of the year, we got tie-ins from advertisers to offer incentives to sign up. We partnered with places to offer free coffee or free lunch, and that provided some nice spikes.
The last thing is our brand ambassadors program, which we use to create awareness around initiatives, events and special promotions. We provide incentives for them to sign up people in their social networks.
Who is the RedEye reader? Does it differ at all between weekday/weekend?
They’re younger than the typical newspaper reader. Half are between 18 and 34. They’re typically time-pressed, socially active and usually have quite a bit of disposable income, and most are single. We don’t have readership data from the weekend edition yet, but I would be surprised if they don’t mirror or closely mirror our daily readers given the channels we’re using.
How do you identify these readers?
As a newspaper company, we have lists upon lists that we use to get people to sign up for the Tribune, so we partnered with them to come up with the lists that made sense for RedEye.
For telesales, we went out and purchased lists. The focus has been in the city — that’s where RedEye is strongest, and the weekend edition in the city has a bit more value to it compared to not in city.