Postal Service Reform Bill Passes House
On February 8th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Postal Service Reform Act, H.R. 3076, by a vote of 342 – 92. The Senate plans to put the House bill directly on the Floor and a vote could come as soon as Monday. The Alliance has also signed onto a Senate stakeholder letter of support encouraging an “aye” vote. Key provisions include:
Expansion of special rates for local newspaper distribution to promote local news organizations, service performance transparency including a new public-facing, online dashboard with national and local level service performance data updated each week to help promote compliance with on-time delivery of mail, repeal mandatory pre-funding of retiree health benefits to financially stabilize the Postal Service and curb rate increases, six-day integrated delivery, and study on operational inefficiencies in Postal Service flats and magazine processing.
News Outlets Ride TikTok Engagement Wav
Multiple news media companies now have more than 1 million followers on TikTok, Axios’ Neal Rothschild and I write. Even though TikTok has done little to court news publishers or make the platform lucrative for them, the opportunity for brand awareness is massive. ABC News has surpassed 1 million followers for its main TikTok account, and is looking to now build up big followings for its shows, like Good Morning America — which currently has more than 770,00 followers on TikTok — and The View. The network launched its main TikTok account around a year ago, and quickly realized that hard news worked better than some of their attempts to follow goofy trends, said Evan McMurry, senior manager of social media. Massive followings for publishers like ESPN and Daily Mail show that while there’s a home for news on TikTok, viral cultural moments are what tend to shine the most on TIkTok. The bottom line: “Our surge on TikTok reminds me of the 2015 big days of Facebook,” said McMurry. “That was the last time we saw a growth wave comparable to this.”
Lee Enterprises Continues To Show Fast Digital Subscription Growth
Lee Enterprises issued a quarterly financial report Thursday, continuing to boast of a rapid pace of digital transformation at its 77 daily newspapers. Statistics in the report, however, suggest that that 59% year-to-year growth in digital-only subscriptions appears to have been achieved only with deep discounting.
Lee said it had 450,000 digital subscribers by the end of 2021. However, its income summary for the last quarter showed digital subscription revenue up just 26%. Moving the revenue needle higher will probably take both a lot of effort and time.
Lee executives acknowledged as much in one slide of their presentation to analysts, saying the company expects to drive revenue-per-customer “expansion as introductory pricing becomes a smaller piece of the subscriber base.” Lee expects to introduce higher priced niche products, it said, which would also up the return. CEO Kevin Mowbray described the overall results, with total print and digital revenues down slightly and operating profit up year to year, as “another strong quarter of progress.”
Townnews CMS And Digital Publishing Solutions Chosen For Canadian Coalition
With the partnership, Tekan will become the exclusive provider of TownNews technology in Canada. TownNews and Tekan announced an exclusive partnership for TownNews to become the content management system (CMS) and associated technology stack for members of a newly formed coalition of Canadian publishers. For TownNews, the exclusive partnership opportunity with Tekan provides a launch pad for a major expansion into the Canadian market. TownNews is the leading media CMS in the U.S. but has had, to date, a limited presence in Canada. Tekan is a new company, formed as a coalition of Canadian publishers that will establish scale across the country to strengthen their position in the digital advertising marketplace and identify cost efficiencies in systems and technology.
Super Bowl Viewing Projected To Rise As Much As 20% Due To Increased Streaming
Amid the rising popularity of NFL games this season, one industry estimate predicts the Super Bowl’s live TV viewership will return to growth — rising between 110 million and 117 million viewers, according to PredictHQ, a marketing “demand forecasting” company. At 117 million viewers, that would be 20% higher than last year’s results — which pulled in 97.3 million viewers when totaling linear TV and streaming TV results, according to Nielsen.
The higher estimate this year is partly due to higher NFL regular-season viewership this year, PredictHQ says. Nielsenmeasured NFL regular-season games were up 7% to an average of 16.3 million. “Our model uses more than 20 distinct features to pinpoint the expected viewership of a game,” according to Xuxu Wang, chief data officer of PredictHQ, in a blog post on Tuesday. “These include viewership trends per season, the uncertainty of the match up and the popularity of teams playing.”
The company also culls a range of live event data, including expected consumer buying behavior from quick-serve restaurants — on-demand and food retail customers– as well as rideshare businesses, and other forecasted services. In 2021, Super Bowl streaming viewers nearly doubled that of the event the year before — 5.7 million in Nielsenmeasured average minute viewers, up from 3.4 million the year before. Last year, streaming represented 6% of television viewership. This year some are predicting much higher streaming composition, including viewing on NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform.