Editor & Publisher, August, 2007
It's been roughly 40 years since alternative newspapers spread beyond New York City with publications that were not as screamingly political as the "underground" papers, but that successfully built a lasting audience with edgy reporting and writing, and tons of listings from concerts to apartments for rent. At a time when it was heresy to suggest that anything besides paid circulation was valuable to advertisers and readers, free-distribution alternatives coined money without collecting coins.
Medialifemagazine.com, June 12, 2006
Increasingly, alt weeklies are seeming a lot more attractive to advertisers who would have shunned them five years ago, and the reasons are many. Certainly tops on the list is the accelerating circulation declines of so many dailies. Another is the circulation-cooking scandals of several years ago, which served to undermine the longstanding confidence many national advertiser had in ABC statements.

But perhaps the biggest selling point for the alt weeklies is their young readership, a readership so many advertisers want to reach and that dailies deliver fewer and fewer of as their readerships continue to age.

AWN Sales Director John Morrison and others in the field say that national advertisers over recent year have become more comfortable with the idea of alternative weeklies.

"Over the course of the past several years, we've seen more diversification of our revenue, as opposed to five or 10 years ago, when it was mostly alcohol, tobacco and music," he says, and he says the leading growth categories include financial services, automotive, telecoms, packaged goods, broadcast and internet.

"We're starting to share a lot of the same accounts," he says, referring to the dailies. "It's a clear recognition on the part of advertisers that local print media is still a great advertising vehicle, but daily newspapers are only reaching a segment of the market. And we're reaching another segment, and what from their point of view may be a more desirable segment."

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