Tuesday, May 01, 2012

USAT | Hilton agrees to new multi-year circ pact

The agreement, announced moments ago, extends USA Today's print circulation in the hotel chain for an unspecified number of years. And it adds a digital component for frequent hotel customers that includes custom entertainment and other content.

USAT announced the deal with Hilton Worldwide in a statement that didn't detail the number of properties covered. Hilton's various brands include 3,800 hotels and timeshare properties.

The deal follows February rumors -- immediately denied by Hilton -- that the two companies had failed to reach an agreement on continuing so-called Blue Chip bulk sales to the hotel chain.

Earlier: In August 2011, Hilton guest sues over delivery charge.

22 comments:

  1. How many copies is this? What % of USAT circulation? Does it count in ABC Circulation reporting?

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  2. Finally some good news. Looks like we didn't need Rudd Davis or Michael Davidson after all.

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  3. I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but is this new product anything more than just a walled garden? Can someone who has seen the product provide more specifics on it?

    From the description, it sounds like a USAT/Hilton branded walled garden of content and perhaps a booking engine at some point. A walled-garden is hardly revolutionary, but it may provide lucrative new ad revenue opportunities. I assume the revenue would be split between USAT and Hilton, maybe as a way to offset the price of the print USATs that Hilton continues to buy.

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  4. This sounds like a smart deal for both USAT and Hilton, with the rest of the Gannett properties thrown in for free. The chief criticism that I'd have is that it should have been done 10 years ago.

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  5. USAT will probably have to do more of this type of corporate partnership thing in order to bring in business in the coming years. As the product worsens (and it is noticeably in decline), individual consumers of news aren't going to buy USAT on their own. The print product has been going downhill for 4-5 years and the digital version is filled with silly gimmicks, questionable news judgment and errors galore -- not exactly the kind of content sophisticated readers are demanding. But hey, USAT has never been a model of great journalism. It's pretty good at marketing, and there was a relatively brief stretch of time when it appeared USAT was on the verge of becoming a solid news brand (maybe even worthy of the still allusive Pulitzer), but that has all changed. The nation's newspaper and newsroom are run by people with little integrity, let alone know how. So to survive, USAT must continue to make deals with hotels and any other entity that thinks USAT still has some clout.

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  6. Know how ? Nope.
    integrity? Nah.

    but this deal is a life saver for usat.

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  7. There isn't an advertiser in the world that cares about ABC.

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  8. My respect for Hilton just took a dive. Knowing what USAT is these days, I step in it and then scrape my shoes on the hallway carpet.

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  9. Wonder how many glowing stories about Hilton properties they'll have to write as part of the deal.

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  10. I have never taken a cruise, so if they're already doing this, great.

    Seems to me they could do tens of thousands extra circ a day publishing for cruise passengers on day of departure and day of return, with ads for the cruise line and destination attractions inside.

    I'm assuming the cruise liners put out their own "paper" with news and info, the way a national park such as Grand Canyon does (free with your entrance fee).

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  11. Does this buy David L. Hunke more time as chairman of USAT?

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  12. By the way, check out where Rudd is now: Verus & Co, Importers of Fine Wines and Liquors.

    From his LinkedIn profile.

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  13. Got a Gannett release/announcement about this that included: "USA TODAY is the preferred source of news and information for travelers ... "

    That gave me the giggles.

    It's quite a leap to equate a newspaper given to hotels (and maybe cheaply?) to just drop on hotel patrons doorsteps to a "preferred source of news and information for travelers."

    I mean, is there actual data to back up that statement, e.g. showing the percentage of travelers who actually read the paper and say they prefer it? Also, was that data collected in a manner that makes it statistically robust, or was it just in a self-conducted online poll (those type of polls being notorious for their bias and inaccuracy)?

    I pose these questions because I've received USA Today while traveling and typically find very little in it that I want to read. I often just recycle it outright.

    I've heard similar complaints from others, so I wonder if there are actual stats and what they say.

    However, coming from Gannett, there could be more spin involved in that statement than in a Fox News broadcast.

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  14. And it only cost us $3.4 million in free advertising for Hilton. That's called buying our own survival.

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  15. Wall Street Journal is by far and away the most widely BOUGHT newspaper at hotels and that still includes all Hilton brands of hotels.

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  16. There's still no specific details. Does this mean to every occupied room, Hilton Honors Guests, or a few papers in the restaurants?

    Did Hilton really pay the required price as per ABC? Wait until guests find out they're being charged for the thin few pieces of paper they step over every morning. Will the deal support Embassy Suites with their need for bagging the paper as most room doors are outside?

    On the up side, hopefully some delivery contractors will make some money on the deal, they're the people tip-toeing around hotels in the middle of the night!

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  17. And, in a related move, shares of Acme doormats gapped down 10% on the Gannett-Hilton press release.

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  18. This is a big deal. Finally. We picked this up from what Rudd Davis fucked up from the get go. The guy was a bullshitter and way out of his element. Disloyal, too.

    Hunke, you actually get some credit for this concept. But just this one time. The amount of stuff you fucked up is still way out of balance. But I lift my Scotch to you.

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    1. Make that arrogant bullshitter.

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  19. It looks like Choice Hotels will be back with USAT too no later than Jan 1. There have been complaints by hotel operators/guests since day 1 with the change to the Wall Street Journal-ironically they wanted USA Today back.

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  20. Did Hunks get back from Asia yet? Loved to have been a fly on the wall.....

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  21. Let's hear a big "atta girl" for Jill Heymer cleaning up the messes left by Michael Davidson and Rudd Davis with all those blue chip cancellations.

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