McClatchy will make $200mln from digital this year

April 7, 2009

McClatchy Chief Executive Gary Pruitt shared some details of the newspaper publisher’s operations in his speech on Tuesday at the Newspaper Association of America’s annual meeting. Here’s what he said, based on a transcript posted at the NAA’s website:

At McClatchy, 15% of our advertising revenue today comes from online. McClatchy, a company founded before the advent of electric lights, will generate nearly $200 million dollars in digital revenue this year at a higher profit margin than our print business.

What significance is this?

  • Fifteen percent is above the average newspaper publisher’s take from digital
  • $200 million would be almost enough to run The New York Times’s newsroom operations for a year. Not bad.

Higher profit margins than print? We know Gary is a big fan of pop music to highlight his industry presentations, and that he likes the Rolling Stones in particular. Maybe “Time Is on My Side” would be a decent choice for those kinds of numbers.

Actually, Gary *did* think of some Stones songs that would characterize the current state of newspapers: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Shattered” and “19th Nervous Breakdown” made the list. In the end he scrapped Mick and Keith and went with the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

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If that gives them enough time to fix the ad sales process to be able to economically sell local ads to local business in versioned newspapers, I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for McClatchy.