BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. has joined with nine other media companies and Suburban Newspapers of America to form the first national advertising network for local papers.

Jack Robb, CNHI’s vice president for sales and marketing, said the purpose of the network is to make it easy for national and regional advertisers to place their ads in daily and nondaily community newspapers throughout the country with a single order and then receive a single bill.

“This is a significant breakthrough when you consider that community and suburban newspaper markets have some of the best demographics in the country,” Robb said.

“It is not unexpected, however, because they represent the growth segment of our industry. National and regional advertisers want to reach readers of local papers that are built on proprietary community news content – and now they have a simple way to do that.”

Robb said big city dailies have long had a relationship with national and regional advertisers, but as circulation of the metros has steadily declined in recent years, these advertisers have sought improved ways of getting their messages into the thousands of community newspapers that serve smaller cities, towns and suburbs.

CNHI is one of the largest publishers of community papers in the United States, with 94 dailies and more than 50 nondailies throughout the Midwest, South and East. Other members of the network represent newspapers across the country.

Suburban Newspapers of America, a nonprofit trade organization representing over 2,000 community newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, served as the catalyst for the alliance.

Based in Traverse City, Mich., SNA will manage the network when it starts up in mid-August.

“Media buyers have been telling us for years that our industry (community newspapers) is difficult to buy,” said Nancy Lane, president of SNA. “Now, we are removing that barrier.”

Lane said the new network will initially focus on national advertising categories such as travel, automotive, financial, insurance, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and political.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer national advertisers a simple way to reach their target customers in communities across North America and to aid community newspapers in gaining national advertising in their products,” Lane said.

Other charter members of the network include these community newspaper and Web companies: ASP Westward, American Community Newspapers, GateHouse Media Inc., Schurz Communications, Inc., Sun-Times Media Group, Rust Communications, Packet Publications, Recorder Community Newspapers and Holden Landmark Corporation.

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