Greater Gannett

Like other newspaper owners, USA Today publisher Gannett has been struggling as the money from print advertising dries up. And though it’s done pretty well on the Web, Gannett hasn’t been able to take that success and turn it into cash. So now it’s going to work to remind people that it does things besides print newspapers.

To that end, Gannett—the biggest U.S. newspaper publisher—plans to roll out its first corporate branding effort, along with a new, sleeker logo and tag line, “It’s All Within Reach.”
A national ad campaign supporting the message will launch March 7 on TV, on the Web and in print.

Chairman and CEO Craig Dubow said the goal is to show advertisers the breadth of the company’s ad platforms. “What we’re trying to do is show the paradigm shift Gannett has gone through,” he said. “We are far more than a traditional media company…Not only do we have our core business, but we have fully expanded into all digital platforms.”

Gannett posted fourth-quarter, year-on-year increases in digital and broadcast revenue, but the company’s takings from print advertising, which represent about half of the company’s revenue, fell 5.9 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, to $722.3 million.

Newspaper analyst John Morton said it makes sense for Gannett to promote itself as multiplatform. Gannett has yet to follow other publishers in launching online paywalls (although tests are underway in three local markets), and digital advertising hasn’t made up for lost print revenue. “They’ve been very successful attracting people to their Web sites, but the advertising hasn’t followed,” he said.

Atlanta-based Scout Marketing handled the TV ad. The Farm in New York and Virginia did the print and digital work. Dubow said the campaign’s cost, which he described as “significant,” was justified by the potential ad revenue it will bring: “The economy, it’s been difficult, but we believe investing in the awareness of what we’re trying to do is going to create real opportunity.”