Blog Archives

The big picture: Mass media era was the blink of an eye

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In the midst of major change, we can only make the right moves if we properly understand what’s happening.

Right now, we in the mass media are wrestling with the most massive change we’ve ever seen. But, as in the parable of the blind men and the elephant, we’re only aware of the tiny part of this change that we touch every day. Read the rest of this entry

‘It’s the end of advertising as we’ve known it’

I was surprised to hear those words come out of my mouth recently, during a strategic discussion about where our company, Morris Communications, needs to be in three to five years.

I heard myself say, “We need to realize that we’re witnessing the end of advertising as we’ve known it. Not this year, not next year, but over a period of not very many years.” Read the rest of this entry

Time to disrupt the old media sales model

The local media industry is in desperate need of new business models. By now, after seven or eight years of brutal shrinkage in ad revenues — in the U.S., anyway — it’s painfully obvious.

And heaven knows we’ve been looking. We’ve tried a lot of things — new digital advertising and marketing products, sales department reorgs, newsroom reorgs, different content models, new niche products and websites, pay walls and meters, just to name a few. Some are even working, at least to some extent.

But here’s a model we haven’t tried: Calling on every possible local advertising/marketing customer at least once a year. Read the rest of this entry

Newspapers need to juice up the ad content, not just the news

The quality of newspaper content is getting some much-needed attention these days, as companies work to justify their print price increases and digital meters/paywalls. They realize they need to reverse the slide in amount and quality of content and talk plainly about it, so readers can see they ‘re serious about meeting their needs despite our shrinking ad revenues.

This strategy works, as several companies, including Morris Publishing Group, have shown. But from what I’m seeing, even the smartest companies are missing a huge part of the consumer value proposition: the advertising itself. Read the rest of this entry

Five game-changers for the local media business model

It was an interesting assignment: Forecast the next three years’ revenues and cash flows based on current activities, then come up “game-changers” that could produce significantly better results.

At Morris Publishing Group — 12 daily newspapers and dozens of digital and non-daily properties — we came up with five that I’ll share here. Read the rest of this entry