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January 30, 2017 • Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas
The Transformation of Business Models
Bob Benz, VP interactive, newspapers, E.W. Scripps Co.
January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 2
The challenge
• “Our panelists were not able to answer
the most pressing question on
investors’ minds – when will the gains
online offset the declines in print – but
in fairness we do not believe there is
an answer to that question yet.”
• -- Lauren Rich Fine, Merrill Lynch
January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 3
Newspaper stocks: 2002-2007
January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 4
The lone wolf strategy
• New Century Network’s demise
• DIY approach to technology
• Every market is an island
January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 5
Running with the pack …
• Yahoo, Monster, Careerbuilder
• Network effect
• Technological lift
• Leverage local sales strengths
• National ad network
• We’re too difficult to buy
• Real Cities
• Other emerging strategies
January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 6
Going beyond local news
• Newspapers Next initiative
• Scripps Entrepreneur Fund
• RFP sales rep program
• Local, local

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Benz

  • 1. January 30, 2017 • Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas The Transformation of Business Models Bob Benz, VP interactive, newspapers, E.W. Scripps Co.
  • 2. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 2 The challenge • “Our panelists were not able to answer the most pressing question on investors’ minds – when will the gains online offset the declines in print – but in fairness we do not believe there is an answer to that question yet.” • -- Lauren Rich Fine, Merrill Lynch
  • 3. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 3 Newspaper stocks: 2002-2007
  • 4. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 4 The lone wolf strategy • New Century Network’s demise • DIY approach to technology • Every market is an island
  • 5. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 5 Running with the pack … • Yahoo, Monster, Careerbuilder • Network effect • Technological lift • Leverage local sales strengths • National ad network • We’re too difficult to buy • Real Cities • Other emerging strategies
  • 6. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 6 Going beyond local news • Newspapers Next initiative • Scripps Entrepreneur Fund • RFP sales rep program • Local, local
  • 7. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 7 23% 30% 36% 6% 5% 5 - Very interested 4 3 2 1 - Not at all interested Interest in Using Local Search EngineInterest in Using Local Search Engine Ours to lose … 70% 55% 43% 43% 37% 26% 22% 15% 8% 3% A local newspaper web site A local television station web site Yahoo! A local radio station web site Google MSN AOL MySpace YouTube Other Type of Website Expect to Offer Local Services Type of Website Expect to Offer Local Services Source: Smith-Geiger study
  • 8. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 8 Turn to first when shopping online Source: SmithGeiger study 60% 25% 7% 1% 7% A specific retail site such as Amazon, Walmart, or BestBuy.com A search engine such as Google or Yahoo! A comparison shopping site such as Shopzilla, Shopping.com, PriceGrabber, or Bizrate.com A marketplace such as AOL Shopping or Yahoo! Shopping Other
  • 9. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 9 The corporate role • Local autonomy • Benchmarking, best practices • Sales support • Interactive training
  • 10. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 10 Benchmarking: KPIs Online Summary Report: ewsnewsrollup Time frame for dashboard: February Comparisons Standard Capacity KPIs: 2007 2006 +/- % Change Page Views 44,648,747 35,038,343 9,610,404 27.43% Visits 7,432,796 5,406,165 2,026,631 37.49% Monthly Unique Visitors 3,970,027 2,581,029 1,388,998 53.82% Standard Consumption KPIs: 2007 2006 +/- % Change Average Pages per Visit 6.01 6.48 -0.47 -7.32% Average Visits per Visitor 1.87 2.09 -0.22 -10.62% Avg. Inventory Consumption per Visitor 11.25 13.58 -2.33 -17.16% Average Minutes Spent 8.05 8.15 -0.10 -1.25% Site Bounce Rate 45.67% 38.98% 6.69% 17.16% Inventory Valuation: 2007 2006 +/- % Change Site Net Revenue $3,196,000 $2,610,826 $585,174 22.41% Inventory Contribution (Page Value) $0.0716 $0.0745 -$0.0029 -3.94% Yield (Average Visit Value) $0.4300 $0.4829 -$0.0529 -10.96% Average CPM Charge $71.58 $74.51 -$2.93 -3.94% Return Frequency Overview: 2007 2006 +/- % Change Return Visits 4,781,820 3,805,370 976,450 25.66% % Return Visits 64.33% 70.39% -6.06% -8.60% % of Return Visits < 1 day 58.18% 57.14% 1.03% 1.81% % of Return Visits < 1 week 30.77% 34.29% -3.52% -10.27% % of Return Visits < 1 month 8.07% 8.23% -0.16% -1.97%
  • 11. January 30, 2017 Online Journalism Symposium, University of Texas 11 Encouraging innovation • Idea gets Phase 1 OK: $500/individual, $1,500 group • Move to next phase: $1,500 individual, $3,000 group

Editor's Notes

  1. This is where I was going to talk about a Merrill Lynch Panel that Chris Hendricks and I were on recently. (I’ve attached Lauren’s write-up on it to the e-mail I sent). I was going to go anecdotal, and talk about the fact that Chris and I put a lot of great ideas in front of the analysts, but at the end of the day, their obsession is “when are you going to replace the money you’re losing in print with new online revenue.” One guy hit us particularly hard, asking the question repeatedly. We had to concede we couldn’t say when – or if – but we have a lot of efforts under way to drive incremental revenue and we are bullish on our ability to pull this off.
  2. The obligatory dire news slide, this one highlighting stock performance of newspaper companies since 2002. It ain’t pretty, and it’s the context that public companies are working within. This ties back to that Merrill Lynch discussion. The Street is very antsy about this downward trend and wants to know where and how we reverse it.
  3. Can a newspaper go it alone and survive in this environment? I’d argue that NCN is an example of the industry trying to come together but being torn asunder by an inability to really rally around a common business idea. I’m not seeing many signs that make me hopeful that we can out-google google or out-yahoo yahoo in the technology space. Plays like Cars.com and Careerbuilder.com show the value that a national network can bring.
  4. So why is this different from NCN? Quite simply, money. These alliances are being greased by financial motivation. Each provides significant financial benefits to all players, and everyone has lots of incentive to grab an oar and row. NCN never got past the “wouldn’t it be cool if we all collaborate” phase. These plays are showing that if the financial motivation is there, a vibrant, effective partnership can result. I also was going to use this slide to make an impassioned plea to make it easier to buy us. It’s still too damned hard. Real Cities and plays of its ilk are a step in the right direction, but we have a long way to go, even within our company …
  5. I was going to talk about strategies here to try new approaches to audience and products in local markets, often strategies that aren’t tied completely to the traditional local news model that we use. The Newspaper Next initiative, which leverages Clay Christensen’s ideas, is a definite step in that direction. At Scripps, we have a $1.5m/year fund that invests in great ideas in our local markets. We also have an RFP sales rep program that funds online sales reps in local markets to ensure that we’re applying plenty of online sales pressure. And finally, the key here is local, local. Half the ad dollars spent are spent locally. While the print model is changing rapidly, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still local advertisers who need to reach local audiences. We need to provide them with vehicles to do that.
  6. Key on this slide is to stress that these graphics don’t represent what people are actually doing. It’s what they would want to do. So on “interested in local search engine,” the answer is, absolutely. People want to search locally. And on the “type of website they expect to offer local services” we rank number one, by far. That doesn’t mean consumers are finding these services when they come to us. It just means we’re top of mind on this, and we should be making sure we’re providing this when they get there. It’s ours to lose, and sadly, we’re losing it in many respects.
  7. Q18
  8. A quick slide on how Scripps corporate works. We see ourselves giving local publishers a lot of autonomy, and we think the best innovation will be spawned locally, not madated by corporate. We try to make sure we are providing lots of data so our sites can tell if a strategy is working or if it needs to be adjusted. In the past, a lot was done by gut hunches. Now we have data to decide if a strategy is working. If one market is kicking butt on employment, we want to dig in, figure out why and make sure all the other markets know about it. We also provide a lot of sales support and interactive training. We’re starting up Scripps interactive University this year, which will bring folks to knoxville for online training and support. In short, corporate is here to help the newspapers succeed, but that success has to come from the papers. We know corporate can’t impose it.
  9. This is an example of the types of benchmarking we provide. This is a rollup for all of scripps that you’re welcome to show a slide of. We provide one of these for each of our markets, and we benchmark the markets against each other. The items on here will give you an idea of the types of things we track. We are also creating these for each vertical product that we offer so we can get very granular.
  10. This is how we encourage people to submit ideas to our Entrepreneur Fund. If your idea gets phase one funding, you get the money cited above. If you move to the next phase, it’s worth the second set of compensation. Plus, your name is attached to the product and you get a chance to help drive the project forward. We’ve found this is very effective.