NMA agrees first joint ad package

The first evidence of co-operation between national newspaper sales departments has emerged with the creation of a package for advertisers that allows them to advertise across all national newspapers during the Rugby World Cup.

The newly created trade body, the Newspaper Marketing Agency, has overcome traditional bickering and rivalries to persuade the newspapers to come together to offer a package that guarantees advertising placed next to World Cup editorial in all national newspapers.

The NMA, launched in January by its chief executive, Maureen Duffy, was instrumental in ensuring that all national newspapers will guarantee relevant sites to advertisers taking the package. This follows NMA-commissioned research into the effectiveness of advertising in the sports sections of newspapers and requests from media agencies to provide such packages to advertisers.

Precise details of the deal that will be available to advertisers are still under discussion. Newspapers are trying to agree whether they will sell the package collectively or individually.

The advertising sales initiative coincides with the launch of the NMA's corporate identity. Its website goes live next month and the association is about to conduct further studies in several areas on the effectiveness of na-tional newspaper advertising.

All national newspapers, with the exception of the Financial Times, support the NMA. They have agreed to put funding in place for an initial three years in a bid to market the medium in the face of competition from broadcast and outdoor media owners.

Duffy, formerly the controller of daytime at ITV and a director at J. Walter Thompson, was appointed last year to lead the NMA after a lengthy search.

A newspaper insider said: "Co-operation within a framework of strong com-petition is exactly what the industry needs. The NMA has been pushing this, and there has been a real willingness to listen."

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