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Feb. 13, 2013, 12:08 p.m.

Press Publish 6: Rick Edmonds of Poynter on paywalls, print days, and the economics of newspapers

The newspaper business analyst talks about what revenue strategies are showing signs of life and whether the paywall model works for everyone.

It’s Episode 6 of Press Publish, the Nieman Lab podcast! My guest this week is Rick Edmonds, Poynter’s media business analyst, and our topic is the business outlook for American newspapers.

Rick’s been writing about the business side of newspapers for many years, and in reading some of his recent work, I thought I’d detected a slight hint of optimism. Not full-blown excitement about the business future of newspapers, mind you — they’re still awfully challenged, by a host of factors — but a general feeling that a combination of paywall, ancillary products, and other strategies are, at least in places, helping steady a sector that has seen little but bad news over the past decade or so.

Rick and I had an informative conversation about the state of play around paywalls and digital advertising, where new strategies are being tried, and how they’re working. (We discuss The New York Times Co., MediaNews Group, Digital First, Journal Register, Gannett, Media General, the Columbus Dispatch, the Orange County Register, U-T San Diego, and more.) If you give it a listen, you’ll come out the other side smarter about how American newspapers are performing.


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Show notes

Rick Edmonds on Poynter
Dec. 9, 2008: “Rick Edmonds predicts a lot of coal in newspapers’ stockings”
Poynter: “Newspapers report ad revenue loss for 25th quarter in a row”
Poynter: “At New York Times, 65% of digital-only subscribers are ‘entirely new'”
Poynter: “The case for paywalls: Gannett gains while Digital First experiments”
Poynter: “The tale of 3 paywalls: E.W. Scripps goes all in, Gannett brags, Washington Post thaws”
April 21, 2011: “A New York Times TimesSelect flashback: Early numbers are nice, but growth over time is nicer”
March 7, 2011: “Who owns newspaper companies? The banks, funds, and investors and their (big) slices of the industry”
Fast Company: “Why Dell Decided To Go Private”
Digital First CEO John Paton: “The Subscription Project — Or A Paywall By Any Other Name”
Jonathan Stray: “Focus and web-only content: How the Deseret News supports a local newsroom with a national strategy”
Ken Doctor: “The newsonomics of Advance’s New Orleans strategy”
Philip Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age
Poynter: “New York Times suspends paywall for Hurricane Sandy”
Huffington Post: “New York Times Amps Up Paywall, Non-Subscribers Can Only Access 10 Articles Free”
“The Boston Globe tightens up as executives seek ‘the optimal balance’ between free and paid”
AJR, 2004: “Churn, Baby, Churn”
2004, St. Petersburg Times: “When newspapers fudge the numbers:
Alliance for Audited Media (formerly the Audit Bureau of Circulations)
2010: “How much can we trust e-edition numbers? Depends on the paper”
NAA’s John Murray talking to Rick about how Sunday circulation is counted
New York Times: “Newspapers Fighting Deal on Postage for Ad Fliers”
Groupon’s stock decline since IPO
“Lessons from the Motor City: What New Orleans might expect when the printing presses slow”
Ken Doctor: “The newsonomics of pressing innovation” (on the Columbus Dispatch/Cincinnati Enquirer format change)
The Berliner format at The Guardian
2010: “Doubling down on print: Canada’s Globe and Mail unveils a new print edition to complement the web”
2010: “Does investing in print help the bottom line? Discouraging evidence from the San Francisco Chronicle”
“Tuesday Q&A: Globe and Mail Publisher Phillip Crawley on the paper’s paywall plans”
Ken Doctor: “The newsonomics of Tribune’s metro agony”
Media General sells 63 newspapers to Warren Buffett
Ken Doctor: “The newsonomics of Aaron Kushner’s virtuous circles”
“The Orange County Register is hiring dozens of reporters, focusing on print-first expansion”
Ken Doctor: “The newsonomics of near-term numerology” (noting The Tampa Tribune’s $9 million sale)
2011: San Diego Union-Tribune sold to Doug Manchester
Poynter: “What to expect at next week’s big media investors’ conference & who will be missing”
Poynter: “For newspaper stocks, 2012 was a surprisingly good year”
Poynter: “Newspaper investor Randy Smith breaks silence to speak up for Gannett”
2011: “Alden Global Capital drops a shoe: Is the Journal Register acquisition prelude to more consolidation?”
Martin Langeveld: “Journal Register’s bankruptcy is strategic, all right — but for whom?”
Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism: Newspapers turning ideas into dollars
James “Scotty” Reston
POSTED     Feb. 13, 2013, 12:08 p.m.
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