Insert Specs

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Guidelines for Advertising Inserts 2012

Houston Chronicle

Specifications for free standing inserts

Maximum size:
12" long (along the folded edge)
10" wide (perpendicular to folded edge)

Minimum size:
5"x7", this includes cards, envelopes
8" x 10 A 1/2" for quarter-folded inserts. No magazine-type section should be smaller than quarter-fold (half tabloid) size.

*Maximum thickness:
1/4" maximum thickness. Standard broadsheet inserts printed on 30-lb. newsprint should be limited to 96-pages.

*Minimum thickness:
.005" minimum thickness for single-sheets/cards/envelopes. Standard broadsheet inserts printed on 30-lb. newsprint should be 8-pages minimum. Inserts of less than 8-pages may need to be quarter-folded for insertion. Standard tabloid-page inserts printed on 30-lb. stock should be a minimum of 8-pages.

Out-of-Spec Inserts

Inserts with the following characteristics may pose problems for machine insertion. Please check with your sales representative and arrange to test these inserts for production capability before placing an insertion order.

The production department reserves the right to invoice the customer for excess labor costs due to late, improperly stitched, trimmed, folded or shipped quantities.

  • Inserts of inconsistent thickness (non-uniform thickness or a lump in an insert, pre-stuffed inserts).
  • Inserts that stick together and do not separate consistently.
  • Objects such as keys, coins, CDS, etc., attached to any page of an insert,; sachets containing scented objects; liquids or shampoo; poly bags; paper bags; product samples.
  • Inserts for direct mail or total market coverage (TMC) must be submitted for testing and for checking postal regulations prior to acceptance for insertion.

Some of these out-of-spec inserts may be accepted as product samples and may be hand inserted in the field by carriers at an additional cost.


  1. Full, straight trailer loads must be locked or sealed.
  2. Pallets much be loaded on trucks or trailers for ease of unloading.
  3. Pallets must not be "double stacked" on trucks or trailers.
  4. Each pallet must carry a pallet tag visible from two adjacent sides and the top of the pallet.
  5. The pallet tag should be facing the fork truck driver and contain the following information:
    • Newspaper name
    • Advertiser name
    • Name of version, if applicable
    • Edition date of insertion
    • Total number of inserts shipped
    • Number of inserts on the pallet
    • Total number of pallets in the shipment
    • Individual pallet number
    • Total pallet weight
    • Number of copies in each lift
    • Name of printer and phone number
    • Reserved space for 2 bar codes
  6. A sample of the insert must be displayed on two adjacent sides of each pallet with version identification noted on the samples.
  7. Product must be stacked on solid base, four-way entry pallets in good condition.
  8. Two-way entry pallets may be used, as needed, to accommodate automated compression banding and wrapping equipment. Pallets must be loaded with the pallet opening facing the rear of the trailer. No "sideways" loading.
  9. Stacked product must cover the pallet and never protrude beyond limits of the pallet.
  10. The entire pallet must be well protected.
  11. Bill of Lading (BOL) must accompany each shipment and include the following:
    • Newspaper name
    • Advertiser Name
    • Name of version, if applicable
    • Edition date of insertion
    • Total number of inserts shipped
    • Number of skids shipped
    • Name of printer
    • Phone number of printer


  1. Pallet Size Must Measure: 40"x48", 40"x45" or 36"x45"
  2. Clearance from floor to bottom of pallet base must be between 4.5" and 7".
  3. Maximum allowable loaded pallet height is 5 1/2 feet, measured from the floor to pallet top.
  4. Maximum allowable weight per loaded pallet is 3,000 lbs.
  5. A substantial protective cover must be placed on the pallet before stacking and another cover placed before topping.
  6. Pallet tops must be reinforced cardboard or a sturdy material the same size as the pallet base.
  7. Each pallet should be securely banded with minimum of four bands.
  8. Banding must be tight without bending the top turn or pulling the pallet flooring loose.
  9. Pallet should be plastic stretch-wrapped only when necessary to maintain the integrity of the pallet.

Insert Material

  1. All supplements must be brick stacked on pallets with interlocking layers in consistent lifts and be properly jogged.
  2. Lifts must be at least 4" and must not be tied or banded.
  3. Cardboard sheets, or suitable binder sheets, not waxed or coated must be placed between layers.
  4. Folded edges should be turned towards the inside of the load whenever possible.
  5. Slip agent (anti set-off powder) must be used on inserts printed on coated stock.


  1. Unstable products that are difficult to contain must be put in telescoping cartons.
  2. Cartons must be strapped, plastic-wrapped or shrink-wrapped to pallets.
  3. Cartons must have proper dunnage to prevent shipping damage.
  4. All cartons must be the same size, contain the same quantity and be labeled to show the quantity within each carton.
  5. The maximum weight per box is 40 lbs.
  6. Inserts such as cards and envelopes must be packed in rows, in the carton with dividers between the rows.
  7. Cardboard separators must be used on top of each layer if more than one layer is placed in the box.

Multiple Run Dates

Any material being supplied to run on more than one insertion date, must be packaged, palletized, and identified by insertion date.

Additional Charges

Every effort will be made to assist with packing and shipping difficulties; however, in some instances, charges will be incurred for any additional expense resulting from receiving or handling of inserts that are not packed or shipped as required.

Damaged Skids/Materials

  1. Damaged advertising inserts will be digitally photographed. In the event of any damaged preprints, the Advertising Materials Department will notify the following:
    • Transportation and Printing companies,
    • The Houston Chronicle Advertising and inserting Operations and
    • The Advertiser
  2. The Advertising Materials Department will advise the advertiser and /or printing company of any known or obvious problems such as shortages or the inability to run material due to damaged skids.
  3. The photos will be made available via e-mail.
  4. We reserve the right to refuse damaged skids.

Billed Distribution

Full-run will be billed based on current ABC Publisher's Statement in effect at the time of publication. It is the responsibility of the advertiser to secure estimated press run figures from Houston Chronicle in order to supply sufficient inserts.

Carrier Route Distribution

Houston Chronicle is one of the few newspapers in the U. S. that can target delivery of your inserts to as few as 200 households, reaching subscribers and non-subscribers. This ability achieves the efficiency of direct mail with the lower cost of newspaper inserts.

There is a 30% premium for carrier route distribution.

Address Specified Shared Mail

Refine your targeting to non-subscribers with address-specific shared mail. One step away from traditional solo mail, Houston Chronicle has the ability to merge your customer database or prospect list with the Chronicle's non-subscribers list, allowing the Chronicle to deliver your message to households at the address specific level. This is a cost efficient method for reaching non-subscribing households.

There is a 40% premium for address-specific distribution.

Solo Mail / Hearst Direct

The Houston Chronicle also offers traditional solo mail and letter shop services to reach specific mailing list coverage.

Database Services / Market Analysis

The Houston Chronicle offers the following services:

  • Market Analysis
  • Custom Primary Research Project Coordination
  • Customer Potential Analysis
  • Predictive/Response Modeling
  • Customized Database Analysis/Warehouse/Mining
  • Response Analysis
  • GIS Mapping
  • Data Processing

For turnkey database and direct marketing information, contact your direct marketing representative at 713-362-6132.


Space Reservation Deadlines for Inserts
Mon – Sat Newspaper Inserts: 7 working days prior to in-home delivery date.

Example: If the in-home date is Monday, 9/14/09, the order is due Thursday, 9/3/09.

Non-Subscriber Delivery via Chronicle Direct (Mail Delivery):
9 working days prior to in-home delivery date.

Example: If the in-home date is Tuesday, 9/22/09, the order is due Wednesday, 9/9/09.

Sunday Newspaper Insert:
10 working days prior to in-home delivery date.

Example: If the in-home date is Sunday, 9/13/09, the order is due Monday, 8/31/09.

Delivery Deadlines for Inserts
Mon – Sat Newspaper Insert: 4 working days prior to in-home delivery date.

Example: If the in-home date is Monday, 9/21/09, the delivery deadline is Tuesday, 9/15/09.

Midweek Non-Subscriber Delivery via Chronicle Direct (Mail Delivery):
7 working days prior to in-home delivery date.

Example: If the in-home date is Tuesday, 9/22/09, the delivery deadline is Friday, 9/11/09.

Sunday Newspaper Insert: Thursday, 7 working days prior to in-home delivery date.

Example: If the in-home date is Sunday, 9/20/09, the delivery deadline is Thursday, 9/10/09.

Cancellation of Distribution

No cancellations may be made after the space reservation deadline.

Insert Billing

Inserts in the newspaper and Chronicle Direct (via mail) will be billed according to weight. Annual quantity discounts are then subtracted from the base rate to determine the final cost per-thousand. Distribution rates do not include production or shipping.

Ship all subscriber and non-subscriber inserts to:
Houston Chronicle Packaging and Distribution Facility,
8010 Kempwood, Houston, TX 77055
(off Highway 290 at 34th Street, west of Old Hempstead Highway).
Phone: 713-362-5682 or 713-362-5660.
After hours, call 713-362-5933 for directions or additional information.
Receiving Hours: Mon – Thurs., 6 a.m. – midnight; Fri., 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Sun. and holidays, closed.

Complete details and specifications covering format, shipping and packaging available upon request. Call the Packaging Department at 713-362-5933.

Reservation and/or cancellation of inserts must be made at least two weeks before scheduled insertion. Inserts canceled after deadline, late-arriving inserts, or inserts improperly folded, skidded or trimmed will be charged an additional handling fee, based on costs incurred by Houston Chronicle. Prices do not include production or shipping costs.