Thursday, October 16, 2014

Black, white, and green all over: newspaper merchandise

If you've opened the New York Times lately, you know that the "grey lady" has its own merchandise for sale. You can't miss the full-page ads on Sunday, marketing everything from its own photographs to front page reprints to logo-emblazoned T-shirts, caps, and keychains. Other merchandise includes vintage typewriters, baseball memorabilia, and personalized gifts for all ages and special occasions (see wedding gift, above). The Times also markets "journeys" such as small group tours of historic places or areas with special political significance.

With print advertising revenues down and fewer US consumers getting their news primarily from newspapers, merchandise marketing has two benefits for papers: it boosts revenues and it appeals to loyal media brand fans who want to be identified with that paper. NY baseball fans might wear a Yankees or Mets cap, while NY news fans might wear a NY Times cap.

Reader profiles differ from paper to paper, so the merchandise being marketed differs, as well. Here are a few other examples of newspapers marketing merchandise, a trend not limited to US markets:
  • The Denver Post sells photos from its newspaper.
  • The Los Angeles Times markets T-shirts, photos, back issues, and LA-related merchandise like mugs.
  • The Chicago Tribune shop features back issues, photos, T-shirts, and made-in-Chicago merchandise.
  • The UK Guardian newspaper has an online store featuring T-shirts, wallets, and more--including satirical figurines based on political figures.
  • The Sydney Morning Herald offers Australian products like books, art prints, wristwatches, and more.

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