In less than six months, the newly constituted Journal Media Group did a 180-degree about-face, shifting from a strategy focused on acquisitions to being acquired by Gannett. The USA Today publisher brought two things that JMG couldn’t match: The proven ability to consistently wring substantial cost savings out of expansion and a digital ad strategy that holds the promise of making everybody — advertisers, audiences, and stockholders — happy.
The current state of local news in the technology-driven information age continues to be a hotly debated topic in industry circles. There’s more consensus around the grim prospects for local print media, and more debate about the outlook for independent local news sites. Understanding where the future lies for local news requires a thorough parsing of both positions.
Under president Mark E. Aldam, Hearst Newspapers is going full bore on digital, creating in-house digital marketing services and betting big on programmatic advertising. In our interview, Aldam explains how Hearst has become a top performer in the still financially challenged newspaper industry.
Preliminary results from our forthcoming executive survey suggest that industry players are investing the most in mobile, followed by data and analytics. Respondents indicated that mobile marketing and managing company websites were the biggest challenges for local merchants, along with SEO and listings management. More complete survey results will be revealed at our upcoming Street Fight Summit in New York City.
Joe Hyde, founder and publisher of San Angelo Live, is seeing his independent community news site in West Texas hit $60,000 in monthly ad revenue. And on its second anniversary, the site continues to attract more unique visitors than the site of its 131-year-old “legacy” competitor.
Digital media vet Chris Jennewein left Patch after the Aol sale, and returned to San Diego to launch the independent Times of San Diego. He is now a direct competitor to the Union-Tribune, and has started a twin regional site called MyNewsLa.com.
According to the report from Netsertive and Borrell Associates, 38 percent of local businesses cited “too much paperwork” as the greatest barrier to co-op marketing, and another 38 percent cited “too many rules.”
The Local Media Consortium is working to turn “digital dimes” back into the dollars. To see how the group is progressing, we recently spoke with Tobias Bennett, LMC’s “programmatic advertising champion.”
Pushed to near death two-and-a-half years ago by heavy losses, regional community news network Daily Voice has resurrected itself, expanding in suburban Connecticut and New York State — and now the network is about to cross the Hudson River into northern New Jersey.
After taking a second, closer look at “Michele’s List,” I’m more worried about independent community news sites. I was surprised to see that more than half of them generate only $50,000 or less in revenue, hardly enough to run a “Ramen-noodle”-type operation.