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Card Readers On Newspaper Venders Yield Modest Improvement

Posted On: 7/15/2010

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NEW YORK CITY -- The Wall Street Journal added credit- and debit-card readers to 190 vending machines in New York City to spur trial readership of its new Greater New York edition. The paper said that turning away potential readers who lack $2 in exact change could discourage sales.

Officials reported a slight lift in volume since the card readers were installed. The New York Post, a sister publication also owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., plans to test card readers in about 10 machines, according to Advertising Age magazine.

Several other newspapers are testing card readers in an effort to boost sales. But at a time when newspaper readership is in a steady slump, the results reportedly have been less than stellar.

Tribune Co. has been testing five card-reading machines for six months in Chicago, where sales have been "flat to slightly up," Ad Age reported. A yearlong test in Orlando of two dozen card-accepting machines at the airport has reportedly not produced any increase in sales.

The New York Times has tested card readers in 10 vending machines for about a year and USA Today has had card readers on 60 machines at airports in Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Minneapolis for four or five years -- and none has seen a lift in sales.