Resolute Forest Reports Results
On Feb. 4, Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products reported a net loss for the quarter ended December 31 of $52 million (U.S. dollars), or $0.63 per share, compared to a net loss of $71 million, or $0.79 per share, in the same period in 2019. Sales were $769 million in the quarter, an increase of $101 million from the year-ago period. Excluding special items, the company reported net income of $45 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $53 million, or $0.59 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Due to the overall decrease in demand for newsprint, mainly attributable to the economic context surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Amos and Baie-Comeau facilities have been temporarily idled since April 2020, said the report. “The demand for newsprint has not returned,” said CEO Yves Laflamme, according to Inspired Traveler. https://www.inspiredtraveler.ca/newsprint-decline-prolongs-shutdowns-at-quebec-factories/
Philadelphia Inquirer Drops Commenting on Most Stories
The Philadelphia Inquirer says that as of Feb. 1, it was removing comments from most of Inquirer.com. Comments will still be available on sports stories and Inquirer Live events, the paper says. The paper says there will be other ways for people to engage with its journalists, including its letters section, social media channels and other features, as well as new capabilities the paper is developing.
The paper says commenting has been hijacked by a “small group of trolls who traffic in racism, misogyny, and homophobia.” In addressing why it didn’t just invest in more moderation, the paper says that “experience has shown that anything short of 24-hour vigilance on all stories is insufficient. The dedicated bad actors in our commenting community are adept at changing their identities. Many have been banned over and over again, only to reappear with a new username later the same day.”
The paper points out that a number of news outlets have made the decision to drop or restrict comments, including NPR, The Atlantic and NJ.com. https://www.inquirer.com/about/philadelphia-inquirer-comments-section-changes-20210201.html
In other Inquirer-related news, Developer J. Brian O’Neill has purchased The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Montgomery County printing plant from the paper, the paper said. O’Neill paid $37 million for the Schuylkill Printing Plant at 800 River Rd. in Upper Merion Township, Publisher Lisa Hughes said in an email to employees. https://www.inquirer.com/news/oneill-inquirer-printing-plant-mlp-ventures-20210202.html
Action on Public Notice Bills in Several States
There was action on bills involving public notice in several states.
• A bill that would eliminate the requirement for public notices to be published in newspapers is moving in the Idaho legislature, the Post-Register reported. https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/rep-webers-new-bill-could-remove-public-notices-from-newspapers/article_7a47f94a-bf7a-5ab5-8608-3fda6d474ae6.html
Last week, the state’s House State Affairs Committee recommended passage of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Jon Weber, R-Rexburg.
• In Indiana last week the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee voted 10-3 to drop mandatory newspaper publication of all public notices, the Northwest Indiana Times reported. Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart, is sponsoring the bill. https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/public-notices-soon-may-no-longer-be-available-to-hoosiers-in-newspapers/article_30d5923a-1061-51e5-b7a7-fa8fb0d50067.html
• The North Dakota House of Representatives voted down a bill Feb. 1 that would have dropped the requirement for governments to publish their bills and payments in local papers, inforum.com reported. The bill failed 62-31. Rep. Brandy Pyle, R-Casselton, was the bill’s main sponsor.
Post and Courier Adding Goss Magnum Pressline
The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) will be adding an eight Tower 22” cut-off Goss Magnum Pressline, says a press release from imPRESSions Worldwide. The plans are to install this press in the paper’s new facility in North Charleston. The press was purchased from imPRESSions Worldwide, which joined forces with DCOS Automation to offer and relocate this press from its original location in Skelleftea, Sweden.
By acquiring the late model 8 Magnum Towers and 2 N40 Folders, the paper will be able to print its own papers at the new site. The Magnum press will also allow for other commercial work with variable web widths, says the release.
Changes to McClatchy’s Local News Experiment
McClatchy is making changes to its Compass Experiment. The effort is a local news laboratory founded by McClatchy and Google News Initiative’s Local Experiments Project.The Compass Experiment started Mahoning Matters in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2019 and The Longmont Leader in Longmont, Colorado, in 2020. The plan was to start another local news operation, but market conditions shifted, according to a Medium post from Mandy Jenkins, the general manager of the Compass Experiment. https://medium.com/the-compass-experiment/big-changes-ahead-for-the-compass-experiment-3b6f906e3c93
Going forward, Mahoning Matters will be directly operated by McClatchy’s news division, Jenkins writes. Eric Nelson of the Kansas City Star will serve as senior editor for the Compass Experiment. Compass Experiment partners Village Media will take over The Longmont Leader, says the post. The paper will join the Canada-based company’s network of owned and operated local news websites. The Compass central team, including Jenkins, will be leaving the project and the company, says the post.
McClatchy Papers in North Carolina Move Printing
The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Herald-Sun (Durham) will move their printing to Fayetteville beginning in April, the News & Observer reported. The move will mean the loss of 48 full-time and 33 part-time positions at the production facility in Garner, the paper said. McClatchy owns the papers.
“Shifting the printing to another company follows other McClatchy newspapers’ lead nationwide. It will save money on equipment and print volume without impacting readers,” said the paper. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article248949789.html
Reid Newspapers Acquires Oklahoma Papers from Gannett
Reid Newspapers has acquired the Miami News-Record, the Grove Grand Lake News and The Delaware County Journal (all in Oklahoma) from Gannett. Reid Newspapers is a second-generation, family-owned newspaper company that owns seven other newspapers in Oklahoma and operates two large central printing operations in Weatherford and Vinita. Its newspapers include the Weatherford Daily News, the Perry Daily Journal, the Bethany Tribune and Country Connections. It also operates the Vinita Daily Journal, the Nowata Star, the Grandlaker and the Afton-Fairland American with business associates John and Janet Link of Vinita. New Mexico-based media merger firm Dirks, Van Essen & April represented Gannett in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
NWT Works with DCOS
After a procurement process lasting several years with the goal to retrofit and futureproof its printing press, a Goss HT70 from 1995, NWT decided in January 2021 to partner with DCOS. NWT is short for Nya Wermlands Tidningen, the regional newspaper in the Karlstad area of Sweden. NWT Gruppen, the parent company, is a cornerstone in the Swedish and Norwegian media and newspaper industry. The Goss HT70 press consist of seven 4-high printing towers and three folders. The current control system from Honeywell will be completely retrofitted by DCOS and the existing DCOS Inspection System will be upgraded with closed-loop density and cut-off control. The project also includes retrofit of seven GOSS CT50P splicers and complete retrofit of the ABB and Bosch Rexroth drive systems.
The pre-installation phase and quality system retrofit will be completed before summer and the drive and control system retrofit will start in August.
New York Times Sees Ad Drop, Surpasses 7.5 Million Subscriptions
2020 was NYT’s top year for adding subscribers, The New York Times Company said in its fourth-quarter earnings report. “Our work, which was consumed at historic levels, led to a year of strong business results, including a record 2.3 million net new digital-only subscription additions, with 627,000 total net additions in the fourth quarter, 425,000 to our news product. At the end of 2020, The Times had 7.5 million total subscriptions across our digital and print products,” said Meredith Kopit Levien, president and chief executive officer.
In 2020, digital revenue overtook print for the first time, and digital subscription revenue, long the Times’ fastest growing revenue stream, is also now its largest, said Levien.
Subscription revenues for the fourth quarter increased 14.7 percent to $315.8 million, advertising revenues decreased 18.7 percent to $139.3 million and other revenues decreased 12.1 percent to $54.3 million. Fourth-quarter revenue was $509.4 million, a 0.2 percent rise from 2019. Adjusted operating profit rose 1.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019, to $97.7 million, and 0.9 percent over the year, to $250.6 million.
Magazine Launches up in Second Half of 2020
The number of new print magazines started in the U.S. fell by more than half in 2020 to 60, compared to 139 a year earlier, says the New York Post. Startups increased in the second half of the year with food, home and fitness titles the most frequent, says the Post.
The Post got its info from Samir Husni, founder of the University of Mississippi’s Magazine Innovation Center at the School of Journalism and New Media. https://magazineinnovationcenter.wordpress.com/https://nypost.com/2020/12/29/despite-pandemic-60-new-print-magazines-launched-in-2020/
• The Culpeper Star-Exponent’s (Virginia) building is on the market, the paper reported. Lee Enterprises owns the paper. https://starexponent.com/business/culpeper-star-exponent-building-is-for-sale/article_a274e91a-44c3-5d53-a9d2-6c3e8873d5d1.html
• Newsprint and magazine paper prices were at new lows at the beginning of 2021, EUWID Pulp and Paper reported. The latest prices for deliveries as of January 2021 showed historically low prices in Germany and Italy. https://www.euwid-paper.com/news/singlenews/Artikel/publication-paper-prices-hit-all-time-low-in-germany-and-italy.html
• Neves Media Publishing has bought four Florida weeklies, The Apalachicola Times, Port St. Joe Star, the Washington County News and the Holmes County Times-Advertiser, from Gannett, the Times reported. https://www.apalachtimes.com/story/news/2021/02/04/neves-media-publishing-acquires-four-area-newspapers/4386743001/
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