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chick or egg scenario. It takes a lot of guts to
forgo easy (but low margin) banner revenue
for the more lucrative but slower sales cycle
Can you share some of the key steps
you’ve taken to accomplish replacing
banner ad revenue?
Take existing home page banner ads
and call them remnant. Any time an
A1 ad is sold, it takes over the home page ad
position. As this picks up steam, a tipping
point is reached. The value of banner ads is
diminishing as the ROP value increases. This
provides a natural incentive for advertisers
to move from banner ads back into ROP.
Digital sales are growing phenom-
enally in your company with one
of your papers showing increases of over
5000%. Details please!
The math is simple. Your home page is
your digital A1 - increase digital rates
I’m totally serious. At davisenterprise.com,
ads on the home page are the same ads that
appear on A1, and vise versa. It’s “one rate
to rule them all.”
Much to our surprise and pleasure, we
are now selling more A1 advertising than
I understand that substantial rate
increases for your digital offerings
are planned for 2013 – can you give us some
insight into the thinking behind this as well
as the strategy for executing this with your
When we were selling banner ads, our
slogan could have read: “We deliver
your message to half our audience, half of the
time.” This is because ROP ads did not exist
for our digital readers. On top of that, we often
rotated the banner ads, making it difficult to
actually find a specific clients’ ad.
Our new slogan: “We deliver news, infor-
mation and advertising. Would you like paper
or plastic today?”
Digital presentation of ROP ads is not an
upsell, nor is it “value added.” Instead we
have positioned our digital publications on
equal footing with print.
The strategy behind a rate increase goes
like this: “Should we apply ourselves to affect
a percentage rate increase to the digital
publication or regular ROP? Which would
be more profitable?” Ultimately, newspa-
pers need to evolve past print vs. digital.
Journalism must deliver value greater than
the sum of its parts to survive.
Our future lies not in a digital revolution,
but rather a digital renaissance of the values,
principals and economics that once made
Now that you have the benefit of some
hindsight wisdom relative to the merg-
ing of your publications and companion
changes, can you share any tips for others
who might like to adopt similar strategies?
Best practices, things to avoid?
Go all-in. Choosing to go to market with
a single publication is challenging, but
it becomes more so if you allow exceptions
to creep in. Make sure your sales reps can
say with confidence that every ad, with every
story is consistent on every device.
Ignore stats. We are perfectly capable of
selling ROP advertising without quoting
clicks-thru rates, or guaranteeing impres-
sions. We are not selling clicks or distribution,
we sell access to our audience. It’s not that
ads aren’t clickable, they are. But this is not
what the advertisers is paying for.
Ads are also optimized for mobile,
providing click-to-call for all ROP ads.
Advertisements are also shared to facebook
and Twitter, but these are all qualitative
statements that describe why our publication
is so great, not a description of individual
And finally, can you give us some
insight into how you practice innova-
tive thinking in your company? I know that
could seem like a vague or odd question,
but perhaps you can share some guiding
principles or practical examples of your
culture and/or mode of operation that
enables you and your colleagues to ‘think
out of the box’ and plan for a productive
and successful future.
The easy answer is: “Question everything
you do” and “say yes” to staff when they
show initiative to change something. You can’t
encourage people to think outside the box,
if it’s not safe for them to challenge existing
assumptions and patterns. This means saying
yes wherever possible. Even if you think it’s
a bad idea, or you don’t like it. People are
smarter than we give them credit for, they
need room to fail in order to thrive.
Have a clear mission that tells the world
why we exist: “We care about freedom of
speech, democracy and our community.
We practice journalism because it enhances
Fully articulate your strategy so that staff
understands that it’s based on integrity and
long term growth rather than current fads
Digital agencies sell 10 different products.
We sell 1 product, and deliver it 10 different
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Boydston cont’d from pg 2
The math is simple. Your
home page is your digital
A1 - increase digital rates
I’m totally serious. At
on the home page are the
same ads that appear on
A1, and vise versa. It’s “one
rate to rule them all.”
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