GWADS Best of Best

2021 Award Submissions
Print Growth

Gannett Co., Top 29 Local Pubs & USA TODAY

City: Multiple cities
Daily audited circulation size: Multiple publications
Sunday audited circulation size: Multiple publications


Our objective was to maximize sales growth within the retail (single copy) environment as well as provide additional value and retention FAQs for our print subscriber base. We need to see a lift in single copy volume of less than .3% of current single copy sales to pay for the program.

Program also offers opportunity to convert single copy buyers to home delivery customers.


Effective May 10, 2021, we launched Dining Deals, a loyalty reader reward program, at our top 29 local publications as well as USA TODAY. The program allows our readers to capitalize on discounts and savings tied to restaurants, family attractions, and so much more when redeeming the unique code found inside of the participating newspapers each day.

We tested the concept with five of our publications with the first one in 2018. Based on the number of customer memberships and redemption count with the available offers, we decided to expand the program.

We place unique codes in each of our participating publications as a ROP (example attached). The consumer has 48 hours to redeem the code before it expires which prompts more interaction since every edition has a different code. Consumers do not need to select an offer as the codes are simply banked into their account allowing them access to over 500K offers nationwide. Each code represents offer point and each point is good toward one offer. A consumer does not need to acquire more points to get larger offers. If a consumer wants to take advantage of $20 off of an oil change, the offer is equal to one point. If the consumer wants to take advantage of BOGO, the offer is equal to one point. The points do not expire once they are entered into the consumer's account.

We have a dedicated landing page customized to each of our publications with a customized customer experience based on their zip code data provided during initial membership sign up (example for USA TODAY attached).

Gannett owns the data collected by the members. We can utilize this data to further engage with consumers. With the help of Entertainment, company who owns Dining Deals, we set up our own vanity URL "Dining Deals USA" to utilize for consistency across our brands in the program.

Prior to the launch date, we set up a marketing campaign to gather interest leading up to the start date. Over time, we will utilize in-store marketing messages to further engage with consumers from a single copy standpoint.


Results from our 2018 launch provided +4.7% lift in daily single copy volume and +2.3% lift in Sunday single copy volume.

Recent launch is pending and expectations are softer than 2018 results due to retail consumer pattern habit changes stemming from 2020 pandemic.

Merced Sun Star

City: Merced, CA
Daily audited circulation size: 4,668
Sunday audited circulation size: 5,002


The objective of this campaign was to win back higher rate customers, on a longer-term daily offer, by approaching with a direct message from the Editor.


The list – the letter targeted customers who had stopped in the past 12 months and were paying more than $10 per week at the time of the stop.

The offer – the introductory discount was $6.00 per week. We only offered daily on this letter, where we typically would offer all 3 FODS – daily, Wed / Sun and Sunday only (all offers include digital.)

The creative – the letter was written by the editor for each newspaper, with an intro and close from marketing. We sent this at the beginning of 2021 and it was part of a 'we're listening' campaign, where we invited readers to give us feedback about what was important to them, for us to focus on covering. We separated the letter from the offer, which was presented in a remittance below.


The results were fantastic. Despite these customers receiving other direct mail, email or telemarketing offers of lower rates, we had a 0.75% response rate and generated 199 starts. We also had 43% of the subscribers pay for a year up front, 9% pay for 26 weeks and 48% paid for 13 weeks. The average rate was about double our typical direct mail campaign. Our best performing market out of the 30 McClatchy markets, was the Merced Sun-Star, in Merced CA, with a 3.26% response rate. Other papers within ADMA boundaries included San Luis Obispo, with a 1.86% response rate, the Bellingham WA Herald and the Olympian in WA with a 1.67% response rate and The Modesto Bee with a 1.07% response rate. The CPO was $73 per order for this piece, considering the high average rate and 52 week collection, this piece was a fantastic success.

Idaho Statesman

City: Sacramento, CA
Daily audited circulation size: 12,921
Sunday audited circulation size: 16,917


Drive Print and Digital Acquisition from Email


We have had different strategies and tactics for driving acquisition via email and in the past 9 months, the print / digital and digital teams have been working together to test, iterate and optimize email marketing performance. At a macro level, the tests included targeting former print with a print offer, former digital with a digital offer, and unknowns with one or the other. At a micro level, the tests have included format, layout, colors, subject lines, preheaders, pricing (daily, percentage off, weekly) and more. Over time, these emails evolved to be one email offering both types of service; however, digital was always presented first.


We have driven an 87% increase in print / digital starts year-over-year. In the first 21 weeks of 2020, we sold 1,482 orders or 71 per week. In 2021, we've written 2,773 orders or 132 per week on average. See attachment for additional insights and results.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

City: Las Vegas, NV
Daily audited circulation size: 85,582
Sunday audited circulation size: 104,631


To strengthen our relationship with and increase both the daily customer count in sales locations as well as the sale of the Review-Journal.


In-store customers can receive a free coffee, any size by purchasing the Review-Journal, or home delivery customers can bring an in-paper  coupon to receive a free coffee, any size. The program will include in-paper coupon/ad printed 4 times per week (Thurs – Fri – Sat – Mon).


  • Provide signage for the newspaper display, coffee area, door, and buttons for clerks to wear, promoting the program.
  • 1/8 page in-paper ad 4 times per week (Thursday – Friday – Saturday – Monday)
  • Email campaign to current subscribers and non-subscribers promoting the program and to pick up a retail copy of the Review-Journal (non-subs)
  • Draw increases at each location to help with increased demand
  • Location audits by LVRJ managers to audit signage and pick up rates
  • Maintain current pricing for the daily and Sunday Review-Journal
  • Recovery program


Overall, we had a successful program in the midst of a pandemic:

  • Daily sold 15% more copies vs. the prior month and 34% improvement over the market trend
  • Sunday sold 12% additional copies vs. the prior month and 39% improvement over the market trend
  • Built a positive relationship with the Speedee Mart C-Store chain
  • Used in store POP and email blasts to non-subs to promote

We met our objective to increase single copy volume and increase the customer base for Speedee Mart!

The Bay Area News Group

City: Dublin, CA
Daily audited circulation size: 279,875
Sunday audited circulation size: 441,270


To better serve our print advertisers by reversing YOY Sunday paid home delivery print declines brought on by significant pricing & promoting home delivery subscriptions to digital only subscribers.


Promote Sunday Print as an attractive upgrade to our full price digital only subscribers. Lead with weekly low cost e-mail campaigns to full price digital only subscribers and follow up a month later to remaining prospects with telemarketing presentations.


12,447 of our digital only full price subscribers have upgraded to add on Sunday print at the same rate and expiration date as their original agreement. This allowed Sunday print to hold flat to prior year reversing YOY declines.


Your membership goes to support this nonprofit organization committed to continuing education and sharing of ideas. Members get preferred rates at events, the opportunity to network, learn revenue-generating strategies, and stay in the forefront of ongoing digital engagement. The Board of Directors look forward to your participation and support in advancing our audience development program.

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