Home' Local Media Today : September Contents SEPTEMBER 2016 | LOCAL MEDIA TODAY | 3
s a reporter many years ago,
I learned that well-regarded
people could tell their story well,
unknown people couldn’t, and
unfortunate people often had their stories
told for them.
Our industry has become one of those
unfortunates. The word on the street is
that we’re ‘has-beens’. They’re saying that
newspapers, TV, and radio are “old” media.
Overpriced, obsolete, and digitally inept.
That’s the story being told for us.
I think it’s time to tell a better story.
LMA has been busy this summer plan-
ning that effort. Like good reporters, we’ve
been interviewing people, collecting facts,
shooting footage, and crafting our own
The infographic that accompanies this
column is the first tangible result of that
effort. It’s an abbreviated form of a larger
infographic that we think will surprise the
business world. It bolsters our story of
remarkable transformation. It’s a story that
shows how media companies are changing
with the times and morphing into some-
thing more relevant to their most impor-
tant customers, advertisers who provide
75% or more of their revenue base.
The idea was born last January at our LMA
board retreat in Chicago. We felt that it was
our fiduciary duty
to members to
protect the indus-
try by turning the
story around and
delivering it where
it mattered most –
to the advertising
In April we
to help us.
We recruited five-
Media, Townsquare, and McClatchy)
to contribute both financial support
and success stories.
This fall, we’ll begin spreading the
message: If you think traditional media
is dying, think again.
What we want the financial and advertis-
ing communities to know is that local
media companies are leveraging their core
strengths to undergo a remarkable trans-
Here are the facts:
• Traditional media companies don’t
consider digital media a competitor, but
rather an asset for their customers. In
fact, local media companies sold $10.5
billion in digital advertising in 2015.
• Local advertisers are happy with the digi-
tal help from media reps. According to a
survey of 7,500 SMBs this summer, 88%
said they consider their traditional media
reps to be digitally savvy.
• Media companies have gone beyond
just selling digital ads. They’re deliver-
ing many of the ancillary services SMBs
need. Eighty-six percent of local media
companies are offering digital services to
help SMBs improve their websites, get no-
ticed by the search engines, manage their
online reputation, and produce videos
about their products and services.
• Advertisers in mid-size and small markets
continue to trust locally based media
companies in a huge way. Despite atten-
tion given to out-of-market companies
such as Angie’s List, Yelp, Facebook, and
Google, 75% advertising expenditures by
SMBs go to traditional media companies
in these markets.
I’m so excited about telling this story I feel
like a reporter rushing back to the news-
room to tell my editor what I’ve found. It’s
Page 1 material. Something that
should lead the evening news
or become a call-in topic on the
morning drive-time show.
The appropriate audience, how-
ever, isn’t consumers. It’s the
business world. That’s why we’re
taking it to Advertising Age, The
Wall Street Journal, Financial
Times, CNNfn, Ad Week, Media
Post, and any other business
media outlet that will listen. That’s
where the story needs to be told.
I hope you can contribute to this
effort by spreading the word in
your markets in a way that will
reach advertisers. If you need help
or have questions, please call or
email LMA President Nancy Lane at 312-
631-3270 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
or feel free to reach me at 757-221 -6641 or
We have seized the moment. It’s time to
stop complaining that our story is being
told for us. We’ve just crafted a great story
Go forth and tell it.
The real story
By Gordon Borrell
Chairman, LMA Board of Directors, CEO, Borrell Associates
TRANSFORMATION & INNOVATION
IN LOCAL MEDIA
The $133 billion local advertising industry, responsible for 40% of all
advertising, is more complex and counterintuitive than it might appear.
The untold story is that traditional media companies aren’t dying,
but morphing into something different and more relevant to advertisers.
In fact, local media companies are leveraging their existing core strengths
as launching pads for transformation and innovation.
local advertising reps
in the U.S., the vast majority
of whom sell digital as well as
of local businesses surveyed
said they considered their
local newspaper, TV or radio
sales reps to be digitally savvy.
Source: Research by Borrell Associates (Borrell Associates.com), 2016 and 2015 data.
U.S . Bureau of Labor Statistics; Borrell Associates Q2-3 2016 survey of 7,564 local advertisers;
Borrell Associates 2015-2015 Compass ad-spending data (http://www.adspending.com);
Borrell Associates 2016 database of digital revenue for 11,500 local media properties.
To view full infographic, please visit:
TRANSFORMATION & INNOVATION
IN LOCAL MEDIA
Local media companies sold
in digital advertising in 2015.
In midsize and smaller
markets, local businesses spend
of their advertising dollars with
traditional media companies.
What we want the
financial and advertising
communities to know
is that local media
core strengths to
undergo a remarkable
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