Publishers: We’re on Offense with Digital
February 24, 2014
By Michael Depp

Newspaper publishers no longer need their arms twisted to build up their digital platforms and sales operations. The talk now is shifting to what’s working and how fast new business lines can be spun up.

That’s the message from the leaders behind the Key Executives Mega-Conference, a joint meeting of the Local Media Association, Inland Press Association and Southern Newspapers Publishers Association kicking off today in Las Vegas. Its organizers say that overall revenue among these small- to medium-sized papers is flat to slightly up this year. But digital revenue streams have given publishers a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel in the industry, and they plan to chase it.

“We’re done being on the defensive as a traditional medium and we’re really thinking more on the offensive,” says Gloria Fletcher, LMA’s board chair and president of Sound Publishing Inc., which owns about 50 daily and weekly papers in the greater Seattle area.

“Publishers are feeling a bit more positive about their specific business and the industry,” she says.

Part of that comes from a now-widespread embrace of multiple revenue streams. “We’ve had so much disruption that we don’t believe there’s one or two or three right answers,” says Julie Inskeep, publisher of the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind., and chair of Inland’s board. “There are lots of small transformational things we’re going to have to do.”

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