MediaFile

Washington Post: the latest example of print ad plunge

Just when you think things can’t possibly get any worse for newspapers, it somehow manages to get even bleaker. Today’s example is provided by the Washington Post Co and its flagship paper (and the online site Slate). The company reported third quarter earnings including results from its newspaper division today.

Print advertising revenue fell 20 percent to $57.6 million — quite a stunning plunge even  as newspapers across the U.S. manage to post quarter after quarter of print ad revenue declines. Even more disturbing is that online revenue, which includes washingtonpost.com and Slate, plunged 14 percent to $23.3 million. Display online ad revenue dropped 17 percent.

The Washington Post is one of those curious oddities in the industry that manages to be extremely local — it’s market penetration of the D.C. area has always been one of the highest in the U.S. — and also draws the interest of a large national audience. So while it may compete with the “nationals” i.e. New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, on the news front,  it is very dependent on local advertising. The NYT, USAT and WSJ get a hefty portion of their advertising revenue through national advertisers.

The local advertising category hasn’t been holding up as well as national advertising. It’s taking it on the chin as the housing market struggles, unemployment remains high and retail outlets are going out of business or simply taking their advertising elsewhere.

That’s not to say that national advertising revenue isn’t hurting as well.  It’s more of a mixed bag. At the New York Times, for example, the division that mainly includes its flagship paper reported advertising revenue fell 6 percent to $156.1 million in Q3.

Struggling Kodak had to pay for CEO’s vacations in Spain

Over the four years that Kodak’s stock fell 80 percent, the photography icon’s private jet made its way several times a year to Vigo, Spain — the balmy fishing town that is the hometown of CEO Antonio Perez.

The Wall Street Journal’s flight tracker for private jet travel makes it easy to trace Perez’s vacations in Spain. It also estimates that the cost of each roundtrip was more than $50,000 a pop.

Starting Jan 1, 2011, Perez’s personal trips on the jet were limited to $100,000 a year. If his flights exceed that amount, Perez has to reimburse Kodak, according to the company’s latest proxy statement. That might come as some relief to investors concerned about the rate that Kodak is burning cash.

WSJ pushes further into video with free app

The Wall Street Journal has launched a new video application “WSJ Live” that pulls from the content from its stable of live programming.

WSJ Live is another push from the Journal into video programming — which represents some of its most valuable advertising inventory, said Alisa Bowen, general manager of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network. Ad inventory on the video network has been sold out and WSJ Live is free to watch on WSJ.com. That is part of the reason that the Journal plans to keep WSJ Live free of charge, unlike some of its other content, but that could change in the future, Bowen said.

Six advertisers have signed up for the sponsorship of the app: Aetna, AT&T, Citi Simplicity, Cognizant, FedEx, and Fidelity.

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.”

New York Times introduces film club

Nothing else seems to have helped newspapers reflect the stronger economic recovery of the rest of media. Old films can’t hurt.

The New York Times forged another path to the club-based membership service — a trend that has grown in popularity among newspapers. Today the newspaper debuted the New York Times Film Club, created for “an audience passionate about movies,” according to the press release.

Membership to the club affords you two red-carpet screenings of remastered Hollywood classics as well as six preview viewings for upcoming releases. The yearly membership costs $100 for individuals and $175 to add another person.

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.

Top 10 newspaper websites in May

Keeping track of how many people visit websites is something that should have been hashed out long ago. Yet for years keeping tabs on such matters has produced results that can vary wildly for each site depending on who is doing the measuring.

Nielsen Online and comScore,  for example, are two companies that rely on panels of people to determine the popularity of a website and are often criticized for under-counting visitors.  Many critics claim that panels barely account for people’s Internet habits at work since often companies do not allow outside software to be installed on work computers. (Nielsen and comScore require panelists to install software on their computers.)

This has been a problem for newspapers websites since many read the news during the work day hours.

WSJ to NYT: We meant to rip you off!

Season four of Mad Men can’t start soon enough. Till July 25, all we have is the ad-related brawl raging between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. 

Yesterday, the Times accused the Journal of ripping off one of their ad slogans: “Not just Wall Street. Every Street.”

Indeed, the Journal meant to do exactly that, according to the following letter from Dow Jones Senior Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Jehn to Richard Samson of the New York Times legal department.

Hizzoner Roasts Murdoch

Rupert MurdochLast night, The Wall Street Journal held a party at Gotham Hall for a slew of  media, advertisers, bigwigs (Barry Diller, the cast of In the Heights!) to introduce Greater New York, a souped up metro section that debuted on Monday. Perhaps you have heard of it.

Usually at events like these, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is roped into saying some words about how great the Big Apple is followed by a note of thanks for creating new jobs for the city.  Last night was no exception.

What made Bloomberg’s speech   – really a roast of News Corp Chief Rupert Murdoch – kind of cringe-worthy was the fact that Bloomberg News is a huge competitor of Dow Jones. It’s not entirely clear if Bloomberg was joking when he said that his company had considered purchasing Dow Jones before he held up a mock-up of the Greater New York edition showing the audience how Bloomberg would have gone about things.

Watch Gannett layoffs in slow motion

It’s layoff week at Gannett — even the second N and T might be redundant.

The largest U.S. newspaper publisher and owner of USA Today, the nation’s biggest-selling daily paper, is slashing payroll just in time for the holidays. We read about layoffs everywhere these days, but if you want to see the slow-motion car crash version of how Gannett is doing it, look to Gannett Blog, run by former company reporter Jim Hopkins.

With no newspaper job to keep him busy, Hopkins chronicles nearly every event that he hears about Gannett. That includes a dose of rumor, but much of what he reports is more right than wrong.