Today marks another important step for Digital First.
As announced earlier this morning, we have formed a new company – Digital First Media Inc. It will manage both the Journal Register Company and Media News Group and its mission will be to accelerate the transformation of both these great firms to a modern, multi-platform media company focused on local news.
And, let me tell you, it will be a powerhouse out of the gate with more than 880 products in 18 states serving more than 57 million Americans per month. More than 41 million of those customers are digital-only creating one of the largest online news networks in the country.
I will head Digital First Media as Chief Executive Officer as well as be CEO of both JRC and Media News.
Newspaper companies aren’t supposed to be able to change. Haven’t you heard?
Here’s another one: Digital dimes can’t replace Print dollars.
Then this: No one wants what we have to offer.
And then this one: Digital revenue will never be able to pay for a newspaper’s newsroom.
We are supposed to be out of ideas, out of money and out of energy. To our competitors, I say keep thinking that. It will make this transformation easier.
At JRC we have blown up a lot of that received wisdom from newspaper critics.
Since implementing our Digital First strategy in mid 2010 our Digital audience has doubled to more than 12.3 million uniques and our entire audience has grown from 14.9 million monthly customers on all platforms to nearly 21 million customers.
That’s more customers for what we have to offer. A lot more.
In Q2 of this year, 10 of JRC’s 18 dailies are up year over year in advertising or within 2% of last year’s ad revenues because of digital advertising growth. JRC newspaper digital revenue grew more than 81% year over year in Q2. That’s against an industry average of less than 10%.
Digital dimes can replace Print dollars.
And if our dailies continue on the trend they are on right now, by the end of the year they will have brought in more digital revenue than the costs of running their newsrooms.
Digital revenues can pay for newspaper newsrooms.
This battle to transform newspapers is far from over but now under the Digital First banner Journal Register Company’s employees are joined by the innovative men and women of Media News Group.
From storied titles like the Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News and St. Paul Pioneer Press an enormous amount of digital initiatives have been underway to transform Media News Group.
Now, together, we are going to accelerate that transformation.
All of us have one goal – to preserve quality journalism in the communities we serve.
And we are going to bring along the Crowd to help us. News is created and consumed very differently these days. The folks we used to call the Audience have a stake in this because they have a stake in their communities. The same communities we are dedicated to serving.
We believe without quality journalism there is no democracy. No First Amendment without a vibrant Fourth Estate.
This is the proposition we are dedicated to.
Collectively, we will harness the energy of nearly 11,000 employees in JRC and Media News to meet that challenge.
Because, we are not of out ideas, we are not out of energy.
We are just getting started.
Until next time, John.