In light of a terrible economic year, newspaper publishers have had to come up with creative ways to drive traffic to their websites in hopes of not only improving readership, but also generating more revenue through advertising. Many are increasing offerings of news, advertising and videos on their respective sites to potentially accomplish this.
Donald Graham, CEO of The Washington Post Co. stated “2007 was not a good year for anybody in the newspaper business,” writes The Associated Press. Graham also remarked that he was hopeful that the online audience of the publication would expand in 2008 due to the impending election.
McClatchy Co., the nation’s third-largest newspaper publisher by circulation, CEO Gary Pruitt attributed the lull in the 2007 growth to many factors including the changes in the company’s agreement with CareerBuilder, a recruitment advertising network. Chris Hendricks, McClatchy’s head of online operations called the company’s 0.8% growth in online ad revenue “disappointing,” but did say that unique visitors to McClatchy’s sites increased by 23% in October over the same time last year, to 21 million.
The company is still optimistic due to a deal with Yahoo Inc. which has enlisted hundreds of publications in a national consortium that is looking to boost traffic on various newspaper sites, and allow them to sell ads by using Yahoo’s tools to target users by category.
Others have other businesses to fall back on. The Washington Post Co. will gain most of its revenue next year from Kaplan education businesses which will turn it into an “education and media company,” as opposed to a “media and education company.”
Gannett Co. also has a large broadcasting business which is “very well positioned” for campaign advertising in 2008.