LIONshare could put millions in ad revenue in coffers of local media publishers


Conrad Jungmann
It's been almost 20 years since I posted my first journalism story on the KOMU-TV website, and 15 years since I sold the first banner ad in Idaho. Thousands of advertising campaigns later and on the eve before launching our fellowship at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, I'm reminded that sometimes, what's old is actually new again.

As a champion of local digital advertising solutions, LION Digital Media has the daily opportunity to bridge the gap between local media publishers and national brands seeking to connect with local audiences. For the past eight years, the staff and systems at LION have been working behind the scenes, constructing and executing digital media plans that span every local market for every industry vertical. Our digital ad campaigns have helped win numerous awards for the agencies that white-label our services. Our publisher insertion orders have diverted millions of dollars from ad networks and remnant ad companies to the local media publishers that generate premium content.

Very early on Michael Koontz, co-architect of our platform, and I realized that the key to being able to do all this relied on the strength of our internal systems. Before we made our first client call, we spent countless hours developing the framework for a digital media planning tool that could quickly analyze all of the options available, eliminate solutions that would not fit the campaign objectives, and effortlessly produce a media plan that could then be negotiated for current rates and avails.

We then spent months compiling data from more than 8,500 local publishers into standardized site profiles, which continue to fuel our system. Since then we've spent years fine-tuning, updating and growing LIONshare® into a tool that allows our media planners to assemble some of the highest performing, and scalable, local ad campaigns on the Web.

Over the next year, RJI and LION will be transforming LIONshare® from an internal system into an open platform called LIONshare® Media Planner that can be freely accessed by all digital marketers and publishers. As our campaign results show, there is a strong argument to be made for buying the most trusted sites in each market directly because audiences are more engaged with local content and advertising.

The scope of the fellowship project is large, but the potential benefits are many. Here is a breakdown of what we are building:

1) LIONshare® Media Planner will essentially be a digital catalog of "normalized" media kit information for all local media publishers that any marketer can utilize to find the right solutions in every market.

2) Access will be free and will save marketers time and allow them to quickly determine in one stop which solutions and publishers they would like to consider for a digital campaign.

3) As a client solutions tool, the system will make capabilities-driven recommendations, producing a media plan recommendation.

4) Publishers will be able to log in and update any element of their profile and offerings at any time.

5) Publishers can promote special, timely products and services to hundreds of agencies and brands that are utilizing the platform.

6) Local media publishers will finally be able to compete for national budgets, at the time when planners are making campaign budget allocations.

7) Visibility of local media websites, mobile, video and rich media solutions will increase.

8) Local publishers will be able to sell more premium inventory directly at higher CPMs.

Today, our company is fielding more calls than ever from agencies struggling to put together rich media, native advertising, video, mobile or sliding billboard campaigns across multiple sites and markets. Local publishers from coast-to-coast send us their latest products, sponsorships and content offerings, desperately trying to find a megaphone that will be heard by national clients. LIONshare® Media Planner will serve as that missing connection. Could your organization benefit from its creation?

Conrad Jungmann, founding partner of LION Digital Media, is the project leader for the organization's institutional fellowship at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. He can be reached by emailing


RJI, Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, LON Digital Media, Jungmann, digital
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