MediaFile

Online advertising catches up to newspapers in 2010

newspapersThe newspaper industry had a lot of bad knocks this year. Advertising revenue continued to decline, when just about every other media sector — like local broadcast TV, for example – rebounded beautifully. For newspaper companies  the term “moderating ad revenue declines” has become the new flat.

Now comes word from the research firm eMarketer that online advertising in the U.S. is expected to outgun newspaper advertising in 2010. For the year, online ad spending is expected to rise about 14 percent to $25.8 billion, while print advertising spending in newspapers is expected to decline about 8 percent to $22.8 billion. The research firm includes everything from Google and eBay to the New York Times in its online advertising category.

eMarketer also points out that total ad spending for newspapers including print and online will reach $25.7 billion in 2010, which it says is ”shy of the $25.8 billion advertisers will spend on Internet ads.”

Except it all depends on how you do the math. The $25.8 billion figure for online ad spend also includes Internet advertising spending on newspaper websites.  According to the Newspaper Association of America, newspapers online ad revenue hit about $2.7 billion in 2009. So taking out that figure, combined print and online advertising revenue for newspapers will still eclipse online advertising spending at all other websites except newspapers for 2010.

Yet, any way you slice it, the numbers still point to a worrisome trend: Any gains that newspapers make with online ad revenue is not enough to offset print losses.

Wall Street Journal snags another hotel chain

DOWJONES-NEWSCORP/Under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch’s  News Corp, the Wall Street Journal has made no bones that the New York Times is enemy No.1. But that hit list doesn’t stop at the Gray Lady. From time to time, the Journal pivots to set USA Today in its crosshairs — and its latest actions mark a move in that direction.

The most recent flag the Journal captured involves Choice Hotels. Earlier this week, the Journal announced it will become the “preferred newspaper”  beginning in January for guests at more than 3,700 Choice Hotel properties including Comfort Inn, Quality Inn and Clarion Hotel. What was the “preferred newspaper” before the Journal swooped in? That would be USA Today.

USA Today begs to differ. A spokeswoman for the paper emailed the following: “USA Today remains a preferred vendor for Choice Hotels in 2011.”

Martha’s Vineyard Gazette sold to KKR co-founder Kohlberg

RTRQKOPI’ve always been thankful that my grandparents were good at playing the real estate game. Among their unlikely coups was buying a house in the 1960′s in Edgartown, the tony enclave on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, whose exclusive address had no correspondence to their income level. If they hadn’t bought it, there’s no way that my journalist’s salary would have been able to scoop up property like that. In the more than three decades that I’ve been going there, I’ve become a regular reader of the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette, the enormous broadsheet newspaper that has resisted the cost-cutting size reductions that many other newspapers in the United States have sustained.

That allegiance to the paper (and its weekly competitor, the Martha’s Vineyard Times), as well as my continuing nostalgia for my former media beat — the future of newspapers, publishing and journalism — made it all the more interesting when I read on Friday that the Reston family is selling the 164-year-old paper to Jerome Kohlberg. It’s the story that has it all for a business reader, really: Daily paper, read by rich and powerful residents who are captains of the financial world (and hopefully Reuters clients), sold to a true bigwig of the private equity world, and a strange connection to The New York Times to boot.

Richard Reston took over editing and publishing the paper, as the Times’s Jacques Steinberg relates in this 2003 story, after leaving the Los Angeles Times where he was a foreign correspondent with stints in Northern Ireland, the Soviet Union and  Vietnam. His family has owned the paper since 1968, as the Vineyard Gazette reports here, when the late James “Scotty” Restonbought it from Henry Beetle Hough. Scotty Reston, of course, was a top editor at The New York Times for many years. ((In a bit of Vineyard cultural trivia, the Gazette has long been seen as the newspaper of the tourists and the seasonal visitors, while many year-round islanders favor the Times).

Rupert Murdoch’s long crusade to make digital news pay

Rupert MurdochOn the first day of one of my journalism classes, the teacher produced a large metal ring with a short rope fastened to it. The ring was made to be installed in a bull’s nose, he explained; and the rope – called a lead – let you guide him wherever you wanted. The point was clear, if somewhat condescending: Writing a good lead lets the journalist guide the reader around like cattle.

That illustration was a lot more powerful before the web, during an era when closed media like print newspapers and television limited interactivity and left consumers with no choice but to passively accept the news as presented. It doesn’t make sense on the web, where any reader can challenge news content or even become a publisher in a matter of minutes.

Rupert Murdoch still lives in a world of nose rings. The News Corp. CEO has had remarkable success in print and television, but he has stumbled again and again on the web, most notably with the great fizzle that was MySpace. Even today, the company is backing away from Project Alesia, its ambitious plan to create a digital newsstand, after other publishers showed little interest.

“A more gentlemanly version of the Chicago Tribune”

colonel tribuneIf anything demonstrates the stark contrast between the buttoned-up Tribune Co of yore versus the radio jockeys -led Tribune Co of now, it’s the illustration that greets readers  on the Chicago Tribune web site’s error page.

If you’re expecting  “a former waitress at Knockers — the place for hot racks and cold brews,” as a Sam Zell-led Tribune press release once trumpeted a new hire,  you will be disappointed.

Instead, visitors are welcomed by one Colonel Tribune pictured on the left. He’s even on Facebook and describes himself as the following,  ”Colonel Tribune is a man about town in Chicago. He’s also a more gentlemanly version of the Chicago Tribune.”

They’ll always be the Magazine Publishers of America to me

Vanity FairThe Magazine Publishers of America said on Friday that it is renaming itself the MPA — The Association of Magazine Media. The notable difference is the omission of the word publishers. Why?

“MPA is underscoring the fact that magazine media content engages consumers globally across multiple platforms, including websites, tablets, smartphones, books, live events and more.”

“More” presumably means “printed magazines,” but nobody in media is all that hot on associating themselves with words like “publish” and “print” because to young people (or young “consumers” in the parlance that people use when their sole desire is to make money from you) and investors those words smell like death.

WSJ defies newspaper ad trends

DOWJONES-NEWSCORP/Newspaper publishers are still laboring to reverse a massive decline in advertising revenue – the Newspaper Association of America reported that total industry ad revenue fell 6% in Q2 — but you sure wouldn’t know it over at The Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal Publisher Les Hinton sent around an email (posted on Romenesko) touting the paper’s eye-popping 17% increase in print and online ad revenue in the quarter ending September versus the same period a year ago.  Print advertising jumped 21% while online ad revenue advanced 29%.

Hinton notes that this is the Journal’s fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth and attributes the rise in ad revenue to the new products and sections such as Greater New York.

Yahoo and newspapers 18 months after APT

YAHOO-MICROSOFT/When Media General reported its quarterly results this week, the company made sure to highlight that its increased digital revenue — up 8 percent — was due in part to its relationship with Yahoo.

“It’s one of the few game-changing partnerships we have had,” Media General digital media president Kirk Read said in an earlier interview.

The publisher of The Tampa Tribune and Richmond Times-Dispatch is part of the 800 or so newspapers that appointed Yahoo to be one of its digital sherpas. The partnership involves ad serving technology, content sharing and, until the sale of Yahoo’s Hot Jobs to Monster, online recruitment. Since the Internet giant launched its ad platform known as APT 18 months ago, the alliance has sold $100 million in Yahoo inventory.

A familiar name picks up coverage of Gannett

For those following Gannett Co.  second quarter earnings on Friday, a familiar name might be popping in on the line. Douglas Arthur — the sharp analyst late of Morgan Stanley known for such hits as “Knight Ridder: A Scenario Analysis”– is back covering the sector again.  Or something akin to it.

Arthur initiated coverage of Gannett for Evercore Partners last week,  stamping Gannett with an “overweight” rating and a price target of $18. It’s likely his report sent shares in the newspaper and broadcasting company soaring about 6% to$14.16 on July 7 close.

Newspaper companies used to be covered by a boatload of analysts until around 2008 when they started dropping like flies.  Maybe if a few more come back into the fold we’ll be looking at an upward trend.

Wither traditional media?

AMAZON-KINDLE/Pity paper and ink. Over the next five years magazine and newspapers’ advertising and consumer spending (read: subscriptions)  growth rate is expected to decline, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The firm released its annual Media and Entertainment Outlook for 2010-2014 and that is one of the more striking, if not predictable, data points in the forecast.

In fact, magazines and newspapers fork in the opposite direction of other traditional media like radio.  PWC predicts that television,and radio, along with the Internet, video games and out-of-home are all expected to pocket advertising and subscriber dollars  with  growth rates increasing over the 2010-2014 period.

Another category  that has taken a beating but is expected to rebound? Books! PwC estimates the consumer and educational book publishing industry will advance 2.5% in the five year period to $35 billion.