This is the second of a two-part series about the Local Media Consortium’s new plans to boost revenue and engagement. Read the first installment here.
The newspapers and broadcasters in the Local Media Consortium are betting their digital future on a five-way ad strategy. Call it a “super” superfecta: 1) ever-bigger audience, 2) ever-bigger audience that can be parsed into discrete and data-rich consumer profiles, 3) higher CPMs from programmatic national ads, 4) more video, especially with high-CPM pre-rolls (ad messages before the editorial content) and 5) more inventory in the form of “below-the-fold” ad space.
LMC put together key pieces of its ad strategy at its recent round of private meetings in Dallas. A big part of the strategy is new LMC member Worldnow, which sells advertising across 450 media sites reaching 81% of U.S. households. Worldnow also offers a range of digital management services to “legacy” and “pure-play” media, which now include the 61 members of the Consortium.
To see what Worldnow brings to LMC, I put these questions to Emily Campbell, Worldnow’s vice-president of national sales and ad operations:
What’s an example of how Worldnow can help LMC members increase their revenue?
Advertising is all about scale. We increase the LMC scale by adding our 4 billion ad impressions to the Consortium’s present 12 billion. We also fit nicely with LMC members since a majority of our clients are broadcast news stations. The Worldnow name is recognized across the industry as trusted local news sites, and that will bring in brand-name advertisers.
Worldnow promotes its “dotTV” services. Are these aimed only at broadcast members of LMC?
We offer what we call our Channel-in-a-Box (CiaB) [for digital platforms]. The first was WTMJ, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee. [E.W. Scripps took over WTMJ when it acquired Milwaukee-based Journal Communications’ TV stations in a merger-spinoff deal that put Scripps’ and Journal Communications’ print operations in a new company, Journal Media Group.] However, the product is also geared towards newspapers, which allows them to become broadcasters with their growing video resources. We also have several advertising features tied into the product, which provides the opportunity for new revenue streams.
Will Worldnow be selling advertising — especially national messages — against the content of LMC members, both newspapers and broadcasters?
We would like to make the most out of our relationship with the LMC and its members, so it is our plan to take advantage of the opportunity to sell national advertising against the content of LMC members.
Worldnow supplies analytics as part of its services to clients. What’s an example of how you would do that for LMC members?
For any ad that runs on our sites, we of course have metrics. We have a dedicated Ad-Ops team which monitors campaigns and tracks metrics for all advertisers that run across our sites.
Do you see the LMC-Worldnow partnership producing higher CPMs for ads sold against LMC members’ content?
We hope with the additional ad reach we bring that we will be able to help the emerging invitation-only Private Market Place within the LMC. Through the Market Place, LMC members will be able to garner higher CPMs, and we believe with our scale and quality of our premium news sites we will be able to help provide a lift in the overall CPM for LMC members through this channel.
Will video be the content centerpiece of how you help LMC members?
Video pre-roll will be very important in the upcoming presidential election and Worldnow hopes to help out by adding scale to the video inventory of the LMC.
While Worldnow will be a big part of LMC’s revenue-enhancing strategy, the Consortium has other revenue initiatives to help members make a more successful transition from the legacy world they used to dominate to the wider-open, intensely competitive digital space.
According to the Consortium’s executive director Rusty Coats, that will mean LMC using data to “follow the consumer who’s showing intent. You can target car ads toward the ‘auto intender’ who’s already done a little bit of shopping.” This can involve revenue-rich cross-device ad campaigns.
LMC members are also sharing their best practices on which ad sizes work better for certain products and services, especially on mobile, which is now attracting 50% and more of total digital traffic.
Coats said Consortium members are also turning their attention to developing “below-the-fold” ads – both “in-stream” units that are placed within articles and others that reside in adjacent columns. Some of this new inventory will be sold as “premium” ads, with higher CPMs.
I asked Coats if the newspapers and broadcasters of the Consortium were showing any interest in Facebook’s recently announced experiment in offering selected “instantly” accessed editorial content on its mobile app from major news providers, like the New York Times — which is not a LMC member — and giving the publishers the opportunity to sell advertising against that content and share in ads that Facebook sells against it. Coats said, enigmatically, “Something will happen.”
Tom Grubisich (@TomGrubisich) writes “The New News“column for Street Fight. He is editorial director of hyperlocal news network Local America, and is also working on a book about the history, present and future of Charleston, S.C.