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in the sale, it’s digital-only revenue. If print is involved and the digital revenue
goes away if the print ad goes away, it’s not digital-only. So, for example, the
digital component of an up-sold print ad would not be counted as digital-only.
Through the third quarter of this year, total digital advertising revenue
was up 0.8% to $146.3 million and as a percentage of total advertising
revenue stood at 24.4%. While total digital advertising is certainly an
important metric, we watch digital-only growth more closely as it’s a
better barometer of our digital success. So, through the third quarter,
digital-only revenue grew by 9.1% and accounted for 58.4% of total digital
Now, the million dollar question – what are some of the top driving fac-
tors behind your digital revenue success?
Off the top of my head things that stick out include having great revenue and
content products, solid sales teams and leadership, strategically oriented
incentive plans and clearly defined corporate goals and objectives.
A quick example is our SMB strategy. Here we are focused on
increasing the number of active “mom and pop” accounts at our
properties. This is a long-term strategy, a forever strategy, so we don’t sell
“here today, gone tomorrow” products and services to customers. The
product and services we offer are best of breed and offer measureable ROI
Under our impressLOCAL product, we sell a variety of quality services
important to small businesses like reputation intelligence, search engine
marketing, mobile landing pages and digital display advertising. We use
TruMeasure’s ROI dashboard to provide impressLocal customers with an
easy way to see how their marketing spend is working to their benefit.
Our daily deals product, Dealsaver, also addresses the SMB space by
providing small retailers with a low-risk high-quality customer acquisition
platform. Here, we provide retailers access to a high quality list of
potential buyers and three plus years of data and experience on how to
get the most from a daily deals experience.
To keep these engines running well, our reps are well and continuously
trained on these products since we are the local experts. At the
management level, our KPI reports are geared to the metrics that matter
so fine-tuning from a best and worst practices standpoint can take place,
During your keynote at the recent LMA conference you talked about your
sales structure, revamped incentive plans and returning digital sales to
the sales channel. Tell us about the changes and modernization that you’ve
made in this arena. And, what are your feelings on digital only sales reps?
For quite some time we’ve deliberately over-incentivized and over-empha-
sized digital sales. We recognize the power of the existing culture is strong
and doing this has worked to our benefit and allowed us to move more quickly.
On the structural side, all sales, print and digital, report to the same
sales leader. We believe it smart to leverage existing sales resources across
print and digital and to do so in the most effective manner requires single
leadership and direction.
While general sales folk are trained to sell digital and print, we do
have digital-only sales reps. Our digital-only sales reps are not digital
generalists though. They’re product specialists selling specific solutions
like dealsaver, impressLOCAL and Cars.com to local customers.
Local deals through your dealsaver.com brand have played a big role in
your digital strategy. Does this remain an integral part? Do you think
the daily deal business model is here to stay?
As I mentioned earlier, Dealsaver is indeed a key part of our digital strategy,
especially our SMB strategy. We believe, and our track record of success
shows, deals can be a lucrative business, grow your customer base and also help
diversify revenue streams. Dealsaver, after all, is an ecommerce play.
You’ve entered the digital agency space with impressLOCAL. How’s that
going so far? Plans to expand? What services are you offering? Separately
staffed? Third party involvement?
McClatchy has a long tradition of successful news-
paper publishing and part of that success has to
do with embracing change and transitioning to meet
the needs of the times. You’re a big company but still
wrestle with the same issues as much smaller media
companies. How do you decide where you should be
focusing your digital strategy efforts?
Decisions on strategic focus points are made by
our corporate team with input from executives
around the company. We work hard to narrow our focus
to make sure we don’t create clutter and slow progress.
So, at any given moment only a handful of what you’d call
corporate-driven strategic initiatives are being worked
on across the company. This also allows for local market
innovation and creative work.
Your company is noteworthy for its trends both in
terms of growing digital revenue and the percent-
age of total revenue that digital represents. Multi-part
question –how do you define ‘digital only’ revenue?
Where does digital revenue as a percentage of total
sit right now? And, can you share what your digital
revenue growth is year over year?
Our definition of ‘digital-only’ is simple. We look at
it two ways. If there’s no print advertising involved
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LMA OFFiCErs & DirECTOrs
Chairman of the Board / SNI Vice-Chairman /
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First Vice Chair / SNI Treasurer
Clifford Richner | Richner Communication, Inc.
Second Vice Chairman
Gordon Borrell | Borrell Associates
Suzanne Schlicht | The World Company
Matt Coen | Second Street, Inc.
Immediate Past LMA Chairman/
Current SNI Chairman
John Humenik | Arizona Daily Star
Roy Biondi | This Week Community Newspapers
Henry Bird | Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.
Robert Brown | Swift Communications
Brandon Erlacher | The Elkhart Truth
Kevin Kampman | Winston-Salem Journal
Terry Kukle | Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Chris Lee | Deseret Digital Media
Peter Newton | Gatehouse Media
Mark Poss | Red Wing Publishing
Ben Shaw | Shaw Media
Kim Wilson | The South Bend Tribune
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AN OFFiciAL PubLicAtiON OF
christian a. hendricks
Vice President, interactive Media
the Mcclatchy company
about christian a. hendricks
Christian Hendricks has been with McClatchy since
1992 and working “newspaper” digital since 1994.
As vice president for interactive media, he works with
McClatchy’s senior team to develop and drive their
overall digital content, audience and revenue strategies.
The McClatchy Company dates back to 1857 and
operates newspapers and digital properties in 29 markets
spanning from Anchorage, Alaska to Miami, Florida.
They deliver news and information to more than 40
million people every month.
Continued on PAGe 14
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