Kroger and personalization: A grocery retailer becoming a media player? 3/6/18

By Cindy Durham, assistant executive director, SNPA

By 2021, 90 percent of Kroger’s in-store sales are expected to be influenced by digital in some way, Michael Wilhite told attendees at the Mega-Conference last Tuesday.

Wilhite is vice president of data strategy for 84.51° – the analytics arm of Kroger. This division employs a sophisticated, proprietary suite of tools and technology to turn customer data into knowledge. Its aim is to put the customer at the center of every business decision.

Kroger’s advertising strategy is centered on using big data and knowledge about its customers to cut through the clutter to drive real connections and sales.

While Kroger’s heritage is that of a grocery retailer, Kroger Precision Marketing, which launched in the Fall of 2017, is giving the company the opportunity to expand its business through exclusive touchpoints: advertising on Kroger channels, word-of-mouth advertising and advertising across the web.


Media execs discuss investment strategies, importance of strong newsrooms 3/6/18

By Cindy Durham, assistant executive director, SNPA

Link below includes 3-minute video clip.

The importance of the newsroom and of newspapers publishing engaging, relevant, local news was emphasized again and again by media executives on the "Investing in Newspapers" panel at the recent Key Executives Mega-Conference.

Over the last 13 years, the newspaper industry has lost more than 1,400 newspapers in the U.S. to closures, mergers and the downsizing of smaller free-standing newspapers that have become editions of larger regional ones, said Penelope Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair, Digital Media Economics, School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

"We've lost more than 1,000 newspapers," she said, "but the decline in circulation has been even more dramatic. It's been halved. Total print circulation – that includes all weeklies and dailies – has declined from 117 million to 67 million, the biggest drop coming in dailies."

She said, "The average print circulation of a daily newspaper in 2018 is 20,000. Since 2004, more than a third of all newspapers have changed hands and about half of them have changed hands two times or more."

When calculcated based on the number of newspapers (not on the circulation of those papers), she said the top 25 companies own a third of the nation's newspapers and control about 50 percent of print circulation.

Three of those companies – Adams Publishing Group, Hearst and AIM Media Management – were among the conference panelists.


New app, new strategy 2/27/18

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

Block Communications markets NewsSlide as "more than an app." Instead, it's a new way to present news and advertising combining the best of print, TV and internet with the goal of immersing the reader.

Block executives call it a game-changer.

"It starts with the content," said Lisa Hurm, vice president and general manager of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We needed a content strategy that appeals to people who really wanted to know what the news of the day was."


Broadcasting from a newspaper rack 2/27/18

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser was the recipient of the Mega-Innovation Award presented Tuesday afternoon at the Key Executives Mega-Conference.


Cutting the website clutter 2/27/18

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

Here's what you won't see any longer on a Shaw Media news website: pop-ups, surveys, auto-play videos, takeovers and Taboola. Or, as Tom Shaw describes them, "all the kinds of things that our readers hate."

What you will see, once you've read three to five stories on a site, is a notice asking you to support local journalism by subscribing. The company has redesigned its news websites to be user-friendly, intending to make up in paid subscriptions was it loses in advertising.


Beyond the newspaper market 2/27/18

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

Flypaper, WEHCO Media's local digital marketing agency, started out in cities and towns served by WEHCO properties, but it's not necessarily connected with newspapers. In fact, Flypaper has moved into an entirely new market in Nashville, Tenn., and the agency intends to keep growing.


Destination 2020: How do we get there stronger and smarter? 2/27/18

Customer: It's a very simple word and one that is underused in the newspaper business, Ken Doctor told attendees at the 2018 Mega-Conference on Monday.

View a four-minute video clip on the SNPA Facebook page

View photos from Day 1 on the SNPA Facebook page

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Paths to subscription: Why recent subscribers chose to pay for news 2/27/18

At the Mega-Conference Tuesday morning, Jeff Sonderman and Gwen Vargo of the American Press Institute, shared the results of API's just-released study on what motivates new subscribers.

In this report, API identifies nine distinct "paths to subscriptions" – the motives and conditions that together lead a person to subscribe. Some people are looking for coverage of a particular passion topic. Others have subscribed because of a change in their lifestyle. Some want coupons to save them money. Some discovered the paper through social media. Others want to support journalism as an institution. All are subscribers.


Ad campaign emphasizes difference made by The Post and Courier 2/20/18

A new branding campaign launched by The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., emphasizes Real News. A Real Difference.

Chris Zoeller, director of strategic marketing, says: "We want our audience to know how we make a difference in small and big ways through our commitment to journalism and delivering the news our community needs."

She added, "We want anyone who is touched by this campaign to sense the pride our staff has in their job and the role the newspapers play in the community to keep them informed."

Click on link below to view the print campaign, videos and learn how you can share your marketing materials for this SNPA collection.


What a California newspaper is learning as it experiments with podcasting 2/19/18

By Jennifer Nelson, Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

A California newspaper is learning as it experiments with podcasting using its existing staff. The Q&A dives into questions like: “What goes into creating a podcast episode?” “What’s the most effective way to promote the podcast?” “What has been the biggest challenge when it came to launching the podcast or continuing to produce the segments?”