Trying to scale community news has many pitfalls. Sites that go for scale can end up publishing glorified “bulletin boards” as they seek to spread budget-limited journalistic resources across multiple communities. The end result can be bottom-fishing remnant CPMs that can be as low as $1. Carll Tucker, CEO of six-year-old Daily Voice, which recently expanded into North Jersey, says its scaling model has produced average CPMs that “hover a few pennies under $8.”
The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team uncovered the pedophile priest scandal in the Catholic Church, but for all the acclaim the reporting won, it didn’t save the paper from a catastrophic financial decline that nearly put the Globe out of business. To understand how such journalistic success could be followed by such financial failure, Street Fight spoke with Dan Kennedy, associate professor in the School of Journalism at Northeastern University, who has written extensively about the subject.
The importance of relevant searches extends beyond search engines. For publishers, custom site search that helps make better decisions about how to maximize the impact of their content, know and understand the likes of their users, and increase their level of engagement can make a material difference in their business. “The key to building a relevant search experience is blending complex signals together and ensuring your site search algorithm is always improving,” said Swiftype co-founder Matt Riley.
Ad blocking on mobile has been in the spotlight since Apple launched its iOS 9 operating system in September. “The loss from ad blockers appears to be more of an opportunity loss for publishers than an actual revenue loss,” said Thomas Sly, E. W. Scripps Co. vp of digital revenue and chair of the Local Media Consortium committee established to respond to the ad-blocking threat.
Every institution of higher learning has myriad news sources, from official newspapers to social media platforms. Some college publications have ambitions and appeal that transcend the campus boundaries. One such example is The Student Body, which emerged from a class at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville and now aims to reach a national audience.
When they met at their recent Chicago convention, independent community publishers and editors talked a lot about what might be called “reve-news.” On everybody’s mind at the Local Independent Online Newspaper (LION) Publishers’ annual meeting was how to monetize news. Even weddings and obituaries can contribute to local news publishers’ bottom line.
What’s on the mind of technology and marketing suppliers targeting the connected local economy? They’re keen on mobile — perhaps too keen — but struggling with their own companies’ brand awareness. The dichotomy between small businesses and national chains that sell locally is profound, and presents difficult challenges in scaling to support either, let alone both, according to Street Fight Insights analysis.
TAPinto.net has taken its New Jersey-centered franchise model for community news to adjacent and competitive Westchester and Putnam Counties in New York State’s heavily suburban Lower Hudson Valley. In this Q&A, founder and CEO Mike Shapiro explains how he’s been able to scale his seven-year-old community network through franchising, and do it largely through self-financing.
Like other dailies, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has taken big hits in advertising and distribution revenue on the print side, but it’s still profitable. To find out how the Journal Sentinel uses quality journalism to stay in the black, Street Fight spoke with editor and senior vice president George Stanley.
Ever since a 2014 Google study documented that 52 percent of ad impressions actually were not seen by users, viewability has been a front-burner issue for marketers and publishers alike. The digital platforms of local newspapers serve up billions of ad impressions monthly, putting these publishers right in the middle of the issue. To find out how they’re responding, Street Fight spoke with Tobias Bennett, the Local Media Consortium’s advertising expert.
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.
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.