DOJ Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against L.A. Times

The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today seeking to block the acquisition by Tribune Publishing Company, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, of Freedom Communications Inc., publisher of the Register in Orange County, California, and the Press-Enterprise in Riverside County, California.  Tribune was selected as purchaser of Freedom’s newspapers following a bankruptcy auction and will seek bankruptcy court approval of its acquisition on March 21.  The department is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the sale to Tribune from proceeding.

According to the department’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and the Registertogether account for 98 percent of newspaper sales in Orange County and the Los Angeles Times and Freedom’s newspapers together account for 81 percent of English-language newspaper sales in Riverside County.  Tribune’s acquisition of its most significant competitor would give it a monopoly over newspaper sales in each county and allow it to increase subscription prices, raise advertising rates and invest less to maintain the quality of its newspapers.

“If this acquisition is allowed to proceed, newspaper competition will be eliminated and readers and advertisers in Orange and Riverside Counties will suffer,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Newspapers continue to play an important role in the dissemination of news and information to readers and remain an important vehicle for advertisers.  The Antitrust Division is committed to ensuring that competition in this important industry is protected.”

Tribune Publishing Company is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Chicago.  It publishes 11 major daily newspapers across California, Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Editor of Denver daily resigns

Editor-in-chief of the Denver Post, Gregory Moore, announced he will resign on April 1. Moore, editor for the last 14 years, brought four Pulitzer Prizes to the struggling daily. Previously Moore was the managing editor of the Boston Globe.

“The Denver Post will continue its outstanding work,” said Moore in a statement. “There is strong and stable leadership in place. But it’s time for a fresh voice to lead from the corner office.” Lee Ann Colacioppo, news director for the Post will serve as interim editor until a replacement is found.

Tribune wins Freedom auction

Tribune Publishing Co. put in the winning bid at the bankruptcy auction of Santa Ana, California based Freedom Communications Inc. The Chicago-based owner of other California newspapers the Los Angeles Tribune and San Diego Union-Tribune offered $56 million for the Orange County Register and the Press Enterprise in Riverside, inventory and real estate assents.

Digital First Media and an investment group led by Freedom CEO Richard Mirman also submitted bids. Digital First Media made the stalking horse bid of $45 million on March 14.

“The successful bid for the business of Freedom Communications will allow the Orange County Register and the Press-Enterprise to continue providing a distinct local voice in their communities and deliver premium news and information to consumers across Southern California,” said Justin Dearborn, CEO of Tribune Publishing in a statement. Tribune’s bid is subject o bankruptcy court approval at a hearing scheduled for March 21.

Meantime, the Department of Justice sent a letter to the owners of Freedom Communications urging them not to select Tribune as the winning bidder.

“In particular, we wish to inform you that, based on our review to date, the division believes that the acquisition of the Freedom assets by Tribune Publishing Company poses a serious risk of harming newspaper readers and advertisers in Orange County and Riverside County,” states a letter from William J. Baer, Assistant District Attorney. “If Freedom selects Tribune as its purchaser, the Division will exercise its antitrust law enforcement responsibilities to ensure the transaction does not deprive newspaper readers and advertisers in these areas of the benefits of competition.”

Quad Report Gives Insights on Marketing to Millennials

Quad/Graphics, a leading global provider of print and marketing services, has released “Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse,” a report spotlighting best methods for marketers, advertisers and media partners to capture the attention of the connected Millennial market, defined as those born between 1981 and 1997. The report:

  • Explores Millennials’ media engagement preferences and attitudinal behaviors across five key industry verticals: grocery, Retail, restaurant, automobile and financial services.
  • Examines the impact various media channels have on their behavior and, ultimately, their purchasing decisions. These channels include, but are not limited to, catalogs, mobile, direct mail, email, social media, retail inserts and magazines.
  • Reinforces that omnichannel marketing campaigns should include more than just digital channels. Traditional channels like print can be used to elevate brand awareness and drive traffic online.

“By 2020, Millennial spending power will surge to an estimated $1.4 trillion — just as they are reaching key life milestones such as getting married, purchasing a home and becoming parents,” says Joel Quadracci, chairman, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics. “It is critical for marketers in these industry segments to capture the attention and influence of these consumers early on in their buying journey.”

Key findings from the research are:

  • Even though Millennials are the most digital-savvy generation, surprisingly more than half ignore digital advertising, and instead pay the greatest attention to direct mail and print advertising.
  • More than half of Millennials read retail email, more than any other type of email marketing.
  • Fewer than one in 10 Millennials based a purchase decision on what’s happening in a social network.
  • Nearly half of Millennial mobile users discovered new brands by following, liking, pinning or tweeting information on social media.
  • Millennials are cost-conscious, multichannel consumers who actively shop from catalogs and retail inserts using print and mobile coupons.
  • Nearly half of Millennials made a purchase because of something they read about in a magazine.

“Millennials are a connected, media-astute generation who are completely in control of when and how they engage with content across an ever-growing number of media channels,” Quadracci relays. “This has created a crisis of measurement for marketers who are challenged to optimize their marketing spend across channels to break through the clutter, engage with the end user, and increase response and loyalty. Our report shows that Millennials engage with different channels for different reasons with all of them contributing value on the path to purchase. Further, our research supports that brands perform better when using a balanced approach with online and offline channels.”

The findings in “Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse” were gathered from Quad/Graphics’ proprietary Customer Focus 2015 Research Study, as well as from external research authorities, including Pew Research, Nielsen and Annalect, among others. Customer Focus is a quantitative annual survey of 2,500 adults, a solid representative sample of demographic U.S. Census estimates. Millennials made up the largest share of the U.S. workforce as of Q1 2015 and, in 2016, Millennials will surpass Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) in population size for the first time in history.

Tower Litho installs a Heidelberg XL106 UV press

Tower Litho, a Scarborough-based trade printer, has installed a Heidelberg XL106 UV press. The company has been in operation since 1971.
The  Heidelberg was acquired to increase production, and take advantage of the press’ ability to print on different substrates including card stock, paper and plastic, at speeds up to 18,000 SPH. The new addition means a 20 percent increase in production without compromising quality. The company also chose to upgrade its colour package, which includes Prinect Impress Control 2, an inline measuring and control system.

The print shop is also home to an 8 Colour 40-inch Heidelberg perfecting press with inline AQ, and 5 colour 40-inch Heidelberg Press, an HP Indigo 7500 press to tackle digital, as well as an EFI Vutek GS2000 flatbed and digital diecutter.