AP to develop mobile version of preprint circulars

AP to develop mobile version of preprint circulars

The Associated Press Board of Directors voted this week to test a mobile version of the preprint circulars that newspapers insert in their weekend sections.

The mobile advertising solution, called iCircular, differs from other online coupon and shopping solutions in that it focuses on driving customers into their local retail stores and providing them tools to manage their shopping lists. A rich media ad module, newspapers can incorporate iCircular into their mobile websites or apps.

”The level of interest in this by retailers is very high,” said Mary Junck, president and CEO of Lee Enterprises and chairman of AP’s Revenue Committee. “In my experience in calling on large retail customers, this is one of the most enthusiastic receptions I have seen. They are impressed by the features and functions, and by the fact that the idea comes from the newspaper industry.”

Circulars that are inserted into newspapers continue to be highly effective marketing vehicles for retailers, reaching about 80 million customers a week. But retailers are also seeking ways to reach the 28.4 million readers who already access news on a mobile device – a number that is growing rapidly.

iCircular would be an extension of the preprint circulars now inserted into newspapers, only on smartphones. It would allow retailers to target by Zip Code the customers they want to reach. Retailers can highlight their offerings by product and product category and consumers could view the offerings in a variety of ways. In addition, customers could search for particular products, create shopping lists and share deals with friends.

Over the next four months, AP will build out the product for market testing, with a pilot group of publishers and retailers.

“AP is working to create an industry mobile ad solution. We are eager to work with retailers and newspapers who are interested in participating,” said Jane Seagrave, AP chief revenue office and senior vice president.