Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Letter From Mr. Saltas

This e-mail from City Weekly honcho John Saltas to MediaOne (Newspaper Agency Corp, which publishes fake SLC weekly In This Week) CEO Brent Low was intercepted earlier today. The impetus? A stunningly loose-with-the-facts ad in The Salt Lake Tribune about In's "exploding" numbers. Please to enjoy ...

Hi Brent,

I meant to do this a while back and of course got busy, but my sincere thanks for meeting me at breakfast at Market Street. Breaking bread with the head of MediaOne/NAC is a great opportunity and I'm happy our mutual friend was able to finally get us together. I had a nice time and hope you did as well. Perhaps it was the start of a great relationship between MediaOne and City Weekly.

I am wondering though, if you feel you got to know me well enough to give me a good deal on advertising in the Tribune (I'd prefer in this case to purchase just the Tribune, basically fearing the Deseret News might balk at my money the same way they supposedly balk at nudie ads in In).

Yesterday I saw the ad for In Utah This Week (page C2, March 27, Tribune Money Section) stating that in just 5 months In Utah has eroded the readership of City Weekly by 20%. The ad says In Utah has already attained over half of City Weekly readership and backs up that statement with several targeted Media Audit claims. Among those claims is that In Utah has more readers than City Weekly who intend to buy a bed/mattress in the next 12 months.

Well, numbers don't lie, and I certainly understand the relevancy of that category! Particularly for a lively entertainment publication claiming 82,000 young bodies ready to get up and GO! But, I know when I'm licked and concede that In Utah has more sleepers than City Weekly. Not to mention it scares me to death to wonder where those folks are sleeping currently.

Here's what I'm asking: How about you sell us a 1/4 page space in that same Money section so we can have an opportunity to retort? It's only fair. I've looked at Media Audit up and down. Therefore, I also think it would be, correct of you to base our rate on the readership claims of Media Audit comparing City Weekly to the weekday Tribune. We come out on a weekday.

What I'd like to say in the ad is basically (stealing from the NAC riff--damn, why didn't we think of that!), that in just 15 years, City Weekly has surpassed every section of the 136-year-old Salt Lake Tribune in CUME readership except for Section One. That's worthy of an ad, don't you agree? I mean, 121-year head start and we passed them up! You can check these numbers yourself, but according to the same Media Audit cited in yesterday's ad, City Weekly has 154,000 CUME readers. Meanwhile the section breakdowns of the Tribune are as follows for CUME readership: Section One, 220,000; Sports, 123,300; Food, 105,000; Business, 103,900, Life, 83,000 and Movies, 80,600.

CUME numbers mostly impress young reps and rookie managers and are a crock when used to purposely mislead as the In Utah folks did in yesterday's ad. But, since they put those CUME numbers on the table (rather than the more honest "Most Often" ratings), we'll go with them. This studying has done me some good, because now I've also come to better understand from these Media Audit numbers that most people don't read each section of the morning paper. Who knew? But Tribune rates don't reflect that. Why?

My proposition:

I think we can both agree that the Tribune full rate is not a good value. I don't know your rates exactly. But, I know our own rates. For example, a quarter page in City Weekly is going to set me back around $500 or so, with a friendly discount, like the one I hope you offer me. And why wouldn't you? City Weekly has more reach than the Money section of the Tribune (are the Money Section and the Business Section one and the same? If so, that puts it at 103,900 CUME readership, or around 30% less than City Weekly). Given the readership disparity using the CUME numbers the folks at In seem to prefer, I don't feel I should pay full Tribune rate since I can't reach the full Tribune readership with just an ad in the Money section.

How about you let me into the Tribune for at least 30% off the City Weekly rate, or around $300 or so for a 1/4 page Black and White ad, and we call it a day? If you'd rather, we can also use the Most Often Ratings to find a fair value--didn't those In folks even check them? I mean, sheez, according to that very same Media Audit, they're generating only 26,000 readers per week with 65,000 papers on the street! Unreal!! City Weekly has over 95,000 weekly readers with "only" 60,000 papers on the street according to that very same Media Audit btw. I guess that more truthful statistic wouldn't have made for such a dramatic ad, eh?

What say we meet again for breakfast and finalize this number? I can cut Dean a check as soon as you give the go-ahead. If you can provide the specs, I'd also prefer that our own production staff design and build that ad.

Looking forward to our next meeting and of course, looking forward to hearing back on this offer.

Best and Happy Easter,
John Saltas


  1. It is funny how easily somebody can find at least one statistic, no matter the source, that will support whatever claim they want to make, no matter how ridiculous.

  2. Good going John,
    I had advertsied with NAC and just wanted the Trib, was told I needed the News as well..then..they upped my ad price and told me I w0uld be included in "IN" whether I wanted to or not.

    They offered me a "test" with a free ad in "IN."

    Of course the unwanted ad in "In" pulled what I expected....nothing.

    So..I am now OUT with IN.

    I no longer advertise with NAC.

    But I now like you guys better than I ever did before.


  3. I think the only discount you deserve should be with Simmons radio. Anytime you discuss radio in SLC you praise only them. Despite the fact there are other stations that air nothing but SLC listeners!

  4. In This Week is to the City Weekly what corporate top-40 radio is to college radio: a bland commercialized simulacrum, focused on making money rather than celebrating the culture it covers (poorly). CW has nothing to worry about...

  5. I know you're a newspaper, and Prmotions aren't your strenngth, but the young woman; with short hair (working for you) that shouted STFU! at the crowd in the Cabana club during SWXSW show (Feb 07), proves that despite CUME, readership, times passed & and other stats you have ... your organization and promo staff inparticular lacks class. Go cry about your rate situation with NAC to somebody else.

  6. What do you want a medal? You're a weekly arts and entertainment paper. You should do it better that the Trib. It's your job.

    But you're attitude is what sux. Like Peyton Manning, there are winners with humulity.

  7. Hey John, good work. If that a-hole doesn't give you an ad, I'll give ya a 1/4 page b/w ad for free! and you can say anything you want in it.

    Mary Grossman
    Planet Jackson Hole Weekly

  8. OOOOOOOh you don't get discount.
    Pay up b#&! That's the price of doing business.
    Just cause you're successful doesn't mean the world owes you something. If I ever pour you another beer at my bar, I'll be tempted to charge you double ... because you're a whiner! Until you can walk on water, pay what everyone has to ....prick!

  9. Monte CapistranoApril 3, 2007 at 7:41 PM

    Damn John, that's some splendid writing! And solid research to boot. Research? Writing? Now, if only the Tribune...

    Oh, never mind. Nobody actually reads the Trib for the writing and in-depth research, do they?


  10. Well luckily its just a boring paper..I believe the readership should dry up rather quickly, as "alternative" papers seem to have at least semi-smart readers (or snobby intelectual types, hahah) who should be able to recognize garbage when they see it.

    Though, we can never be certain...honestly, I myself did think IN was just another independent upstart-newspaper, which I respected (at the time), yet I was flawed.

    Keep up the good work, you blunt writers block :)


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