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LMA Board of Directors
Print ad revenue for the newspaper
industry is projected to grow slightly in
2013, according to Gordon Borrell, CEO of
Borrell Associates. He addressed the topic
during two different webinars last month.
Borrell and colleague Kip Cassino spoke
to Local Media Association members in
late October and Borrell also spoke at
a NetNewsCheck webinar earlier in the
Borrell predicted that for the indus-
try overall, print revenue will rise 0.5% in
2013 with most of that growth coming to
small papers. Mid-sized papers, those in
the 50,000 to 100,000 circulation range,
are expected to see mixed results, with
revenue staying mostly flat. Metro papers
will fare differently, said Borrell, with pro-
jected declines in the 4% to 6% range.
The U.S. Postal Regulatory Commis-
sion’s negotiated service agreement with
Valassis muddies the waters on preprint
revenue and could shift some dollars to
direct mail and potentially counteract any
growth in other categories.
Borrell predicted that most markets
will see local online ad revenue rise 30%
in 2013. Targeted banner ads — those re-
lated to content readers care about — and
video will be the primary drivers behind
the rise, increasing 105% and 43% respec-
tively. The targeted display category is ex-
pected to continue growing at a blistering
pace for the next five years, rising from
under $5 billion in 2012 to more than $35
billion in 2017, according to Borrell.
Borrell attributed the rise of video ads
to a shift in how users consume their on-
line content from “reading the Internet”
to “watching the Internet.” The increase of
broadband speeds and the growing popu-
larity of tablet computers have made online
video more reliable and more attractive.
And video use is “just going to grow
and grow and grow as the Internet be-
comes much more of a video medium,”
“Ad agencies and the major marketers
do most of their exciting marketing in vid-
eo — made for television — and that usu-
ally translates down to a five- to 10-sec-
ond preroll,” Borrell said. “A lot of that is
coming online just as the nature of the
Internet becomes more video-centric.”
Revenue for other digital categories is
flattening out, according to the forecast.
But Borrell, a longtime advocate of digital
only sales reps, says that newspapers with
dedicated digital reps will see online sales
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I’m a pretty competitive person,
and whether it’s strategy in my fantasy
football league or my real business,
I find myself often asking the same
question: What’s the one thing I hope my
competitor doesn’t do?
I think this technique helps my
decisions and preparation. It definitely
So when I consider my media
competitors, be they the traditional
metro dailies or the non-traditional
digital deal sites, you know what the
worst possible news would be that I could
hear? They’re hiring local reporters.
That’s right. Reporters. Local news
coverage. Real local news coverage
provided by real reporters working in my
market. That’s what I fear.
Real local news and information is
relatively expensive to cover, particularly
if you’re trying to enter a market that
has decent local news coverage already.
Some start out with big claims but aren’t
willing to commit to it. Top 10 lists
are easy. Three hour planning board
meetings that end at 10:30 pm are not.
And this investment of time and
journalism standards remains our
competitive advantage. The more change
that hits our industry and information
consumption, the more I’m convinced
of this. Does User-Generated-Content
(boy I hate that term) have its place?
Of course. The ease of sending photos
from a breaking news scene might be
the best advance our smart phones
have given us. Has Twitter become the
modern news feed? Absolutely. But the
proliferation of news sources and speed
of breaking news does not replace the
need for context and analysis. I think it
can be argued that it increases the need.
And we need to celebrate and support
that. We newspapers are proving everyday
that we can adapt to the digital tools. I’m
convinced that we have bright futures if
we marry those advances to increasingly
solid local journalism. And it starts inside
our own offices. Advertising sales staffs
need to better understand and embrace
“the product” they are selling. Translation
– you’re not selling print or digital; you are
selling an audience that values trusted,
local news and information. Sales staffs
do a better job selling this when they
actually read that coverage, and get
excited about it and can discuss it with
their clients and prospects.
It sounds simple but I’m struck over
and over by how much we take that for
granted. How can we expect potential
advertisers to get excited and engaged
with our offerings if we aren’t?
So that’s my plea for this month
get everyone on your staffs to dive
deeper into your editorial. Read it,
debate it, critique it, post it on the office
refrigerator ... and then go out into your
communities and shout about it. It’s
what we do. And it’s going to sustain us.
Gareth Charter is Publisher of Holden
Landmark Corporation in Worcester, Mass.
and Chairman of Local Media Association
Board of Directors. Reach him at gcharter@
of time and journalism
standards remains our
competitive advantage. The
more change that hits our
industry and information
consumption, the more I’m
convinced of this.
With contribution from netneWscheck
To Rise In 2013
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