Why the Seattle Times Is Offering Political Ads at 'Rock-Bottom' Prices

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Just because you're the last daily standing doesn't mean you don't face an uphill battle for survival. The current business model for newspapers -- give away for free online what you charge for in print -- is fundamentally flawed. And according to Goldy at HorseAss, even though the Seattle Times has a monopoly on ink in this town, that isn't stopping it from acting like one of those mattress wholesalers who wears a cape and crown and buys spots on late-night TV.

This morning, Goldy published a PDF sales pitch from the Times' advertising team.

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Complimentary box spring not included.

Never one to miss an opportunity to kick the Times while it's down, Goldy described the "rock-bottom" ad as a "desperate promotion" to encourage political campaigns to buy space. And according to a statement from Jill Mackie, the paper's spokesperson, he's probably not too far off.

Our rate strategy is not something we discuss publicly. As many people know, historically those involved in decision making related to political advertising have tended to be drawn to broadcast and direct mail. We know the power of our print and online products and our goal is to encourage those buying political advertising to see for themselves.

Goldy's speculation is that while political campaigns bring a windfall of cash to TV and radio, those breezes don't often reach the newspapers. Mackie, in saying all she's allowed to say, pretty much acknowledges that much.

Call it spin. Call it sweetening the pot. Just don't say the last guy standing has an easy time making money.

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