Archive for March, 2010

Analyst moderates outlook for McClatchy

Monday, March 29th, 2010

J.P. Morgan has given a thumbs-up to McClatchy’s refinanced debt and cost controls, and has moved its rating from “underweight” to “neutral,” according to Editor & Publisher.

The newspaper publisher “held an offering for $875 million in notes in order to refinance more than half a billion in bank debt and other outstanding notes. The move leaves McClatchy with $91 million in bank debt and notes that are due to mature in 2011,” the magazine explains.

Analysts said McClatchy has “proven to stand out ahead of its peers on cost reduction, giving a higher degree of confidence that it will be able to maintain profitability and cash flow despite ongoing revenue pressure expected in 2010.” The company’s chief means of cost reduction has been layoffs and buyouts, to the tune of eliminating about a third of its workforce.

Gannett, The New York Times Co. and E.W. Scripps are also rated “neutral,” E&P notes.

J.P. Morgan expects McClatchy to the see an advertising revenue decline of 11.5 percent in 2010 with total revenue estimated to be off 8.4 percent.

In another report, the analyst predicts newspaper industry advertising revenue will fall 8 percent in 2010 due to easing comparisons. “For the first time in many years, margins may actually improve in 2010 as revenue declines moderate and most companies benefit from a more significant decline in costs,” analysts wrote.

Newspaper revenue sinks to 23-year low

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Another bad report about newspaper ad revenue: the Newspaper Association of America, a group that some accuse of spinning too positively for its industry, said this week that ad revenue hit its lowest level since 1986 after a drop of 27 percent in 2009.

But the $27.6 billion in 2009 revenue looks worse when you adjust for inflation, the Associated Press’ report says. The $27 billion earned in 1986 “would equal nearly $53 billion in today’s dollars.”

On the other hand, “ad revenue in the final three months of the year fell 24 percent from a year earlier to $7.7 billion — the smallest quarterly percentage decline of 2009.

“‘Unfavorable trends for newspaper ad spending continued to diminish as the fourth quarter progressed, a sign that business conditions have begun to gradually improve,’ NAA President and CEO John Sturm said in a statement.”

Radio revenue may have turned the corner

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Folks in the radio business have some good news with what Advertising Age calls “not just a slight increase for 2010 but several years of compounding growth.”

It’s not much though. “The predicted turnaround will be slight, leaving radio revenue in 2014 still shy of its 2008 level,” the magazine says.

BIA/Kelsey, a consulting firm specializing in local media, says radio ad revenue is likely to see a 1.5 percent gain this year.

“The industry will continue to grow its online revenues in 2010 as increasingly more progressive radio groups recognize they are more than just over-the-air transmitters and begin to integrate cross-platform promotions with their broadcast and Web operations,” Mark R. Fratrik, VP at BIA/Kelsey, says in the report, according to Ad Age.

Print vets find move to digital tough

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Digital media operations no longer look toward print veterans when it’s time to hire, Advertising Age says. Where print folks once had an edge in experience, these days the transition is proving more difficult.

“Now digital media has become so intricate — with so much of ad sales revolving around technology and ongoing campaign optimization — and the talent pool has so deepened that print devotees are no longer go-to candidates. In fact, it’s closer to the opposite.

“When we look nowadays for talent, we don’t look for that person,” Penry Price, VP-global agency development at Google and formerly an ad sales executive at magazines including Us Weekly and Rolling Stone, told Ad Age. “We look for someone who’s not a print seller. We look for someone who’s a lot more analytical. We’ve found a few in print, but it’s gotten more complex.”

Print vets who are hired tend to get jobs with less responsibility, which translates to less pay, the article says.

The article also provides five tips for getting yourself in position to make the move from print to digital.

Coupon software bypasses design staff

Friday, March 19th, 2010

In another move sure to lead to cost savings through job cuts, Media General has launched software that allows advertisers to create their own coupons and run them in the newspaper.

The program, which debuted at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and could be rolled out to the rest of the chain’s properties this year,  is enabling more small businesses to advertise in the paper, says Newspapers & Technology magazine.

Weekly Clipper is built on the AdLizard self-service ad platform. Users log in and are taken through four steps that allow them to build their coupon using a template or to upload their own ready-made design.

Denise Ballinger, director of self-service and the ad product marketplace for Media General, told News & Tech she “hopes to implement even more of the self-service features AdLizard can provide to allow advertisers to completely manage their own accounts.”

McClatchy’s stock performance ranks

Friday, March 19th, 2010

“McClatchy Company is the 3rd best-performing stock” among the top 10 best-performing media stocks year-to-date, says China Analyst, “a financial information Web site focused on U.S.-listed Chinese stocks.” “It has risen 43.22 percent since the beginning of this year. Its price percentage change is 875.00 percent for the last 52 weeks.”

Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. are Nos. 1 and 2 on the list.  The E.W. Scripps Company is the next newspaper publisher on the list, coming in at No. 5.

McClatchy (MNI) was up $0.1 early Friday at $4.84. (Then, by the time our computer crashed, and we rebooted and reloaded this post, it was down $0.3.)

Ad spending fell 12.3 percent in 2009

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

We’ve been out-of-pocket for a few days and we’re shoveling through the e-mail. Most significant so far is the report from Kantar Media, formerly known as TNS Media Intelligence.

“Ad spending in 2009 came in at $125.3 billion, a drop of 12.3 percent compared to the prior year,” the report says, according to Crain’s New York Business.

“The good news was that fourth-quarter ad spending fell by only 6 percent. In addition, preliminary numbers for the first quarter of 2010 show most media categories doing better than they were a year ago, said Jon Swallen, a senior vice president at Kantar Media.”

This is worse than a previous report from Medill Reports that said overall U.S. advertising spending was down 9 percent for the year last year. (Kantar isn’t limiting its number to the U.S., perhaps.)

According to Kantar Media, “radio fell 20.3 percent, local television plunged 23.7 percent, magazines dropped 17.4 percent and newspapers 19.7 percent.” Network television was down 7.6 percent for the year but turned around in the fourth quarter to rise 4.1 percent. Cable TV was  down just 1.4 percent.

Internet display advertising rose 7.3 percent.

“The biggest turnaround may be taking place among newspapers,” Crain’s says. “According to Mr. Swallen, advertising is flat so far this year, which puts the category on track to record its best quarter in two-and-a-half years.”

Digital ad spending to pull ahead of print

Monday, March 8th, 2010

A 9.6 percent jump in digital advertising in 2010 means more money will be spent on digital ads than print for the first time this year, according to Outsell’s annual advertising and marketing study, says Forbes.

“Of the $368 billion marketers plan to spend this year, 32.5 percent will go toward digital; 30.3 percent to print,” Forbes says. “Digital spending includes e-mail, video advertising, display ads and search marketing. ‘It’s a watershed moment,’ says the study’s lead author, Outsell Vice President Chuck Richard.”

The study, which is due out today, also says that ad spending for magazines will rise this year by 1.9 percent and, quoting Richard again, “We should see far fewer closures and cutbacks among traditional media.”

More from magazine publishers: video

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Five magazine publishers have put together a two-minute video to tell the story of magazines and pass along the message that “print is not dead,” Mr. Magazine reported Tuesday.

Monday we read about a print advertising campaign touting magazines.

“Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines; Jack Griffin, president of Meredith National Media; Ann Moore, chairman & CEO of Time Inc.; Charles Townsend, president & CEO of Condé Nast; and Jann Wenner, chairman of Wenner Media launched their ‘good news’ celebration video yesterday at the opening of the American Association of Advertising Agencies meeting in New York City,” Samir Husni wrote.

Magazine publishers press case in magazines

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Five leading magazine publishers have joined for a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to “press the case that magazines remain an effective advertising medium in the age of the Internet because of the depth and lasting quality of print, compared with the ephemeral nature of much of the Web’s content,” the Wall Street Journal said Monday.

Time Inc., Hearst, Condé Nast, Wenner Media and Meredith will run nearly 1,400 pages of the ads  in such publications as People, Vogue, Ladies’ Home Journal and other magazines this year.

“The five publishers say they have committed to run the first of the ads in the front one-fifth of their titles’ pages, and have agreed to run all subsequent ads in the first half.

“The ad space they are devoting to the campaign is valued at more than $90 million, based on public ad rates for each of their participating magazines,” the WSJ said.

Elsewhere, said the Journal, the Newspaper Association of America has run repeated ads to publicize the number of people who read a daily newspaper. As with the magazine campaign, the newspaper trade group says its ads are designed to counter the notion print is a dead medium. The local-TV industry’s trade group is starting an on-air ad campaign this month to encourage companies to advertise on their local TV stations.