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More from Day 2 at the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference

Another great session yesterday at Day 2 of the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference, entitled “The ‘New’ Newspaper: New Users, New Reach, New Revenues,” focused on the future of the newspaper industry. The session, moderated by Peter Krasilovsky, VP and Program Director at BIA/Kelsey, featured Dallas Morning News Publisher and CEO Jim Moroney III and San Diego Union-Tribune President and COO Mike Hodges and.

Newspaper industry innovations are always interesting to those of us with a traditional Yellow Pages background. Both newspapers and phone directory publishers have legacy systems, print products, embedded resources – and of course, similar challenges in today’s increasingly fragmented media market.

Moroney talked about how he is working with his team at the Dallas Morning News to ensure that the paper’s core advertising assets are being leveraged to their full advantage. He said that content marketing is at the core of the Dallas Morning News’ expansion: relevant, high-quality, targeted and interesting content that drives a consumer to make a decision or purchase.

To deploy existing assets to full advantage, Moroney created “508 Digital,” a new group backed by the Dallas Morning News’ trusted name, which is specifically tasked with reaching out to small businesses with an affordable, self-serve platform solution. For the paper’s larger existing customers (retailers, automotive, etc.), Moroney is developing another new business line, “Speakeasy.” This line is helping to increase sales with high quality content provided in partnership with an agency.

Moroney said that Dallas Morning News’ 125-year history in the market and its full spectrums of choices are giving his customers the confidence they need to continue doing business with the publication.

Asked if digital can save the newspaper industry, Moroney advised that new lines of business are needed to ensure the growth necessary for a healthy future.

Hodges discussed his digital background and said he harbors no preconceived notions about how to grow his business. The San Diego Union-Tribune is no longer just a newspaper, and his goal is to serve his advertisers regardless of the platform.

His publication entered the daily deal arena and is generating $13 million in new revenues as a result. U-T also started a rewards program for customers who demonstrate loyalty to local businesses.

In addition, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s broadcast business, UTTV, leverages 160 newsroom content providers to create sponsored content. Cox and AT&T UVerse are among the partners working with U-T TV.

Hodges said his future initiatives include a digital agency, real estate and mortgage brokerages, and a coffee delivery service with the morning paper.

All of these initiatives add up to some impressive innovation in a legacy product and great use of embedded assets. I think these developments definitely deserve some attention as our industry tackles some very similar issues.

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