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Beyond the Horizon

DECEMBER 2020

Season's Greetings!

This is so interesting…

…a few evenings ago, I had one of those very enjoyable, back-and-forth, semi-intoxicated conversations with an old college chum.  He’s spent most of his career in the tech world, and as you know, virtually all of my professional life has been in support of the newspaper industry.

At one point I shared, “…the NY Times had grown its’ digital subscriber base to something like 7 million!”, and he reacted with surprise saying, “That’s all?”

From my traditional newspaper point of view the NY Times consumer revenue results have been a resounding success.  Who’d a thunk even a national title like the Times would be able to generate such a base?  I’d say High Fives and Kudos are in order.

Yet, if you view such numbers through a technology lens it’s easy to understand why this total might be considered disappointing.

My tech buddy is likely comparing NY Times subs to, what, 2.7 BILLION monthly active Facebook users or 5 BILLION YouTube videos consumed daily or any of a host of worldwide platforms which are untethered geographically and therefore really hard to fathom through a “local” lens.

There’s no right or wrong here, but the dramatic difference of perspective causes me to wonder if we in the local news media space shouldn’t aim a little higher?  At the VERY LEAST we should quickly contemplate, identify and pursue grander goals!

For instance>

  • What would our financial picture look like if we had a relationship with 40% to 50% (or more) of local businesses?  How much would that help?  If that’s a worthwhile goal, let’s figure it out and make it happen?
  • If advertising churn dropped from pre-COVID averages of 30% - 50% to under 10% (and stayed there!), what would that mean?  Is that somehow achievable?
  • Is it possible to get 70% - 80% of consumers/adults to opt-in to news alerts, video briefings, one of our niche newsletters or download and actually use our app?  How WOULD we go about making that happen?
  • Finally (where I see the single biggest opportunity) what different news or information CONTENT (in all senses of that word!) might pave the way for greater adoption, penetration and retention?  The long-successful, yet unquestionably fading business model is working against the changes everyone knows must occur, so let’s face that reality head-on!

Call me crazy, but if EVER there was a time to dramatically alter our operations, structure and paradigm to legitimately pursue “moonshots” or BHAG’s, well,

THIS        IS       IT!

What you are waiting for ~ tell me how it goes!  Have a fabulous holiday season!

 
 
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