New York Sun: More Reading, Half the Size

As it enters its second year as a daily newspaper, The New York Sun is aiming to turn a straphanger niche into financial success by emphasizing how its readers love it.

"People who read this paper spend 30% more time with it than with the traditional newspaper, yet it's one-half the size," said Chief Operating Officer William Kummel. "It's the equivalent of a TV buyer buying a 15-second ad and getting a minute."

The Sun has also begun a new $800,000 ad campaign, using the tagline "Expect a Different Point of View," produced by Leapfrog Advertising.

The buy is a mix of TV, radio and outdoor ads, including taxi-toppers and buses. The Sun got some bargains on the broadcast side of the buy after other advertisers cancelled during the Iraq War, said Kummel.

The paper currently publishes 18-20 pages per day, he said, and costs just 25 cents per issue. The circulation of 30,500 is 70% ahead of where it was at launch. About 75% of those papers are bought at newsstands, and the heart of the circulation territory is the Upper East and Upper West sides of Manhattan.

It's a well-educated audience, since "47% of our audience went to graduate school and 82% graduated from college," Kummel said, based on research done for the paper last year.

"The research we have done to date has focused on how the consumers reacted to the product as a whole, both those who read it and those who don't. The research has focused on how people take the paper, and what they're looking for."

Retailers are at the heart of the advertising mix, said Display Advertising Director Allyson Nemeroff, just as it is in most local newspapers. "The message is we're an affordable way for advertisers to reach an upscale, well-educated New York audience," she said.

"Another category that's strong is our arts and letters section," she said, where The Sun offers reviews that start on the front page. "We recently had the Museum of National History and the Frick Museum" launch ad campaigns in The Sun, she said.

The paper's offices, on the second floor of a building at Chambers and Church Streets in lower Manhattan, are just one block west of where the 19th century paper of the same name, owned by Charles A. Dana, had its offices.

Kummel said the new paper hopes to raise circulation another 20,000 this year, and increase the percentage of papers that are delivered by carriers. "We've expanded the home delivery footprint to New Jersey, to Fairfield and Westchester, increased Brooklyn and Queens, and provided it in Staten Island," he said.

The Sun is also selling online subscriptions, at the same $1.25 per week price as on the newsstand, with readers getting to choose either a text-based version or one that looks just like the regular paper.

"At our launch we had a remarkable number of people asking to subscribe from outside our home delivery area," he said. "Mailing means you don't get it that day. By going to an electronic edition of the paper, it looks just like the regular paper.

"Many people around the world think of themselves as New Yorkers. This is a way to serve the same audience, for $1.25 per week, and enjoy the same product."