Better Newspapers buys Mountain Echo

“Better Newspapers, an Illinois-based company owned by Greg Hoskins, has bought The Mountain Echo (Ironton, Missouri), the paper reported.

The ownership change was set to take place Aug. 1.

Publisher and Editor Randy Pribble was scheduled to retire at the end of July. Randy and his wife, Sue, have owned the paper for seven years, the paper said.

Better Newspapers owns and operates 21 newspapers across Illinois and Missouri.

Kim Combs, who manages the Wayne County Journal-Banner Piedmont and the Reynolds County Courier in Ellington, will now serve as general manager for The Mountain Echo, the paper said.”

Source: News&Tech, 2019


Jet, Ebony archive sold

“A large photo archive from Jet and Ebony magazines was auctioned off in late July and will go to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture and to the Getty Research Institute, NPR and others reported. The public will have the opportunity to see over a million photos for the first time, the new owners say.

The auction took place in Chicago.

The archive went for $30 million, money that will go to Johnson Publishing’s bankruptcy debt, NPR reported.

The Ford Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the MacArthur Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation were the buyers.”

Source: News&Tech,2019


Gannett selling Milwaukee buildings

Gannett, owner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is selling the paper’s buildings, The Waukesha Freeman and others reported.

The paper will relocate to a new downtown site, Gannett announced. The paper has around 260 employees. The move is expected to take place next year.

A group headed by developers Tony Janowiec and Joshua Jeffers is buying the properties, which are the six-story 1924 Journal Sentinel building at 333 W. State St., the 1919 ex-home of the Milwaukee Sentinel, a sports bar and a parking lot, Urban Milwaukee reported.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The newspaper buildings have been deemed historic properties by the Milwaukee Common Council, so the city’s Historic Preservation Commission would need to okay alterations to the structures’ exteriors, according to the Freeman. The site is expected to be redeveloped into mixed uses, including offices, retail and apartments, according to real estate sources, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Source: News&Tech,2019

Quad, LSC cancel merger

“Quad/Graphics and LSC Communications have mutually agreed to terminate their merger agreement, under which Quad would have acquired LSC, Quad announced on July 23.

The all-stock transaction was announced on Oct. 31, 2018, and was approved by shareholders of both companies in February.

In June, the U.S. Department of Justice sued to block the acquisition, and in July the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois set a litigation schedule that includes a trial that would start in mid-November at the earliest and that would not result in a decision on the merits until 2020.

The parties have determined that the added delay, uncertainty and cost of legal challenges would have likely eroded expected benefits of the merger, Quad said in a news release.

As required by the merger agreement, Quad will pay LSC a reverse termination fee of $45 million.

“We are disappointed by the Justice Department’s decision to sue to block the transaction and believe that the lawsuit does not reflect the dynamics of print today and the competitive effect of digital media,” said Joel Quadracci, Quad chairman, in the release. “However, rather than devote time and resources to prolonged litigation, we are choosing to focus on ensuring that our clients benefit from our Quad 3.0 growth strategy through exciting innovations in printing and integrated multichannel marketing solutions that reduce complexity, increase efficiencies and enhance marketing spend effectiveness,” he said.”

Source: News&Tech,2019

Pew Research Center assesses state of news media

Pew Research Center issues an annual assessment of the state of the news media, and has done so since 2004. Here is some key information from the 2018 state of the industry:

• U.S. newspaper circulation has reached its lowest point since 1940, the first year with available data. Total daily newspaper circulation (print and digital together) was an approximated 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday in 2018, according to Pew. Those figure dropped 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively, from the year before, according to Pew’s breakdown of Alliance for Audited Media data.

• Digital circulation for daily papers was up in 2018, though not sufficiently to turn around the fall in circulation.

• Ad revenue for newspapers was down 13 percent, according to an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Circulation revenue was steady in 2018.

• Revenue was up 4 percent over the year for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC combined, say estimates from media research group Kagan.

• Digital ad revenue has grown substantially, with most landing in Facebook’s and Google’s pockets. Revenue from ads put on all digital platforms was up by 23 percent last year, and currently represents 49 percent of all ad revenue in the country, say eMarketer estimates.

• Traffic to news websites seems to have plateaued. The number of unique visitors to the sites of newspaper and digital-native news sites got no bigger between the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2018, the second year in which there was no notable growth, according to Comscore.

Source: News&Tech, 2019


L.L. Bean Enters Canada with Plans for Stores Across the Country: Interview

By Mario Toneguzzi

“The Jaytex Group is bringing iconic international outdoor retailer L.L.Bean to Canada in a big way with the opening of the first store in Oakville Place, just outside Toronto, August 23 to be followed by dozens of in-store locations in Hudson’s Bay across Canada.

The first retail location of L.L.Bean in Canada will be a 13,000-square-foot store in Oakville Place which is set to open August 23. The international retailer has a history of being in business for 107 years.

Kastner said Jaytex has worked out a deal with Hudson’s Bay where the best of L.L.Bean products in all categories will be sold in self-contained branded shops ranging from 300 square feet up to 2,000 square feet.

“These shops will house our key product categories which include men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel, footwear, bags and accessories. They will be mini L.L.Bean stores within Hudson’s Bay.  Kastner said that 57 locations will be rolled out at the end of August in Bay stores and next spring it will likely be rolled out to all the remaining Bay stores in Canada.

“The Hudson’s Bay locations that we’re rolling out this fall will cover the top 57 stores from coast to coast right from the flagships in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver down to mid-size and smaller stores,” he said. The Bay has 88 stores in the country. The brand will also be available on

“Ultimately our plan is to get to 20 standalone stores within a 10-year period and it’s really all going to depend on getting the right locations, the right deals, and the right space. We’re going to focus on Ontario first by opening four or five stores, and then start to branch out across the country. We have the postal code data from L.L.Bean from their online and catalogue business. We know where the L.L.Bean customer is.”

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multi-channel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. L.L.Bean is a family-owned Maine company led by Executive Chairman, Shawn Gorman, the great-grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean and Stephen Smith, President and CEO. In the past five years, L.L.Bean has donated over $6 million toward conservation and land stewardship. L.L.Bean currently operates 44 stores in 18 states across the United States, along with 28 stores in Japan. The 220,000-square-foot. L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than three million visitors every year.

“We’ve had a long, meaningful relationship with Canadian customers for decades, so we’re thrilled to be able to give our loyal Canadian fans a true comprehensive, omnichannel L.L.Bean experience, with a dedicated web site, Canadian catalogues, and now L.L.Bean retail stores,” said Smith in a news release. “As a Maine-based company that shares a lot of commonalities with our northern neighbours, we’re eager to be infusing a bit of the Maine essence and L.L.Bean brand into the Canadian market.”

The company said the brick-and-mortar store is the latest offering of L.L.Bean products geared specifically for Canada. In late June the brand launched a Canadian-only version of its famous catalogue featuring duty-inclusive prices, designed to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers. The catalogue joined the company’s Canadian-specific website, which launched late last year.

“Hudson’s Bay celebrates a sense of community and outdoor adventure that is embraced by Canadians,” said Wayne Drummond, Chief Merchant, Hudson’s Bay, in a news release. “Our customers trust Hudson’s Bay to find and deliver the very best brands that reflect those values. It is this shared spirit with L.L.Bean that compelled us to launch the brand in our stores and online this fall.”

Kastner said the iconic brand already has a healthy, robust business in Canada. The company has shipped a lot of product into the country over many years. “There’s a very loyal following. We know that a lot of Canadians travel south of the border to L.L.Bean stores – in particular the Freeport store. Any day of the week you’ll see a lot of Canadian licence plates in that parking lot, and over the years a lot of the comments and the requests that L.L.Bean was getting from its customers were pretty consistent. When can we buy the product in Canada? When are you opening a store? It just seems a natural for us,” he said.”

Source: Retail Insider, 2019

GateHouse cracks the code to boosting single-copy sales

“GateHouse Media launched a nationwide single-copy promotion earlier this year in an effort to boost readership and sales. Starting in May, the publisher ran its “Crack the Code” promo for eight weeks, giving away weekly prizes totaling $150,000.

“As of late June, we’d already received more than 341,000 entries,” Rick Dumas, senior director of single-copy sales for GateHouse, told News & Tech.

Dumas said GateHouse partnered with audience engagement platform provider Second Street to power the sweepstakes across more than 150 newspapers in 32 states.

Readers could enter by picking up a copy of their local print publication and entering a code printed on page 2A on the sweepstakes website. Weekly winners had a chance to win between $2,000 and $12,000, with a grand prize of $100,000.Through that entry, the publisher is able to collect reader information including name, email, phone number and date of birth.

Dumas said the GateHouse promotions department also worked with Second Street to monetize the sweepstakes through rich media features, including highly visible ads across participating newspapers’ websites and landing pages.

“We’re running print ads and sending email blasts to past subscribers and non-subscribers, and we’re promoting it with our free products,” he said. “We also did a video ad and launched some Facebook ads to attract some of the younger demographic.”

Some 22,000 retail locations across GateHouse’s markets — including 7-Eleven, Circle K, Speedway and H-E-B grocery — supported the promotion with store signage. Regular print subscribers were also allowed to participate in the sweepstakes, with positive results.

Lift in revenue

On average, Dumas said GateHouse’s single-copy sales account for about $77 million in revenue, so it made sense to spend the $150,000 to boost those sales further.

“We’ve had good engagement from a number of our home-delivery subscribers, and we’ve also saved some that were planning to cancel their subscriptions,” Dumas said. “We also had a 3.16 percent lift in single-copy revenue that equaled $37,000 in a week, so that was really good.”

Of all the entries, Dumas said 23 percent or more were non-subscribers.

This isn’t the publisher’s first sweepstakes initiative. Over the holiday season last year, GateHouse launched a hot rod giveaway in which it accepted 100,000 entries over a weeklong period for a chance to win a car. The winner chose a yellow Chevelle convertible.

“These sweepstakes have been a great lift for us, thanks to the work of our marketing department and promotions department as well as our social media experts and our editorial department,” Dumas said.”

Source: News&Tech, 2019