News & Tech: TownNews, BlueLena Partner

October 25, 2021

Article by: News & Tech

TownNews, BlueLena Partner

TownNews and BlueLena have announced a partnership that will empower local media organizations to activate reader revenue using TownNews’ smart metering and paywall solution, iQ Audience+, says a press release from TownNews.

Customers using TownNews’s iQ Audience+ smart metering platform will have the option to sign up for BlueLena’s suite of audience activation, monetization and engagement solutions. The BlueLena marketing platform includes subscription payment processing, customer experience automation, performance analytics and customer surveys. Daniel Williams, who has held management roles with the New York Times Company, The Day Publishing Company and Gannett, is the co-founder and CEO of BlueLena, says the company’s site.

BlueLena is founder-funded and backed by investment from Old Town Media, a New York-based firm that has supported The Colorado Sun, Chalkbeat and Medium, among other endeavors.

McClatchy Does Real Estate Pilot with United Robots

McClatchy has an agreement with Sweden-based United Robots for a pilot partnership to deliver automated news about home sales in Sacramento County, California, says United Robots.

The pilot, which is live as of early September, includes automatically generated stories about individual sales as well as aggregated articles on aspects such as median or average price and lists of most expensive homes sold during given periods for given areas or neighborhoods.

“We are thrilled to be working with a leading and progressive media group like McClatchy to deliver real estate news automation in the U.S,” says United Robots CEO Soren Karlsson.

EDG Lands Newspaper Jobs

Electronic Design Group has landed a number of newspaper upgrade projects recently, the company tells News & Tech. Among them is work at Richmond Times Dispatch, replacing controls on two Ferag TTR conveyors with PLC, AC drives and HMI, says EDG. Also among the projects is work with the Albany Democrat-Herald (Oregon), retrofitting PLC, DC drives and HMI on an Urbanite press. EDG is based in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada, and specializes in automation, drives and custom hardware design.

CherryRoad Media Goes with SCS

At the America’s Newspapers Conference (Oct. 17 to 19 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs) CherryRoad Media signed contracts with SCS to implement the Community Advertising System and Community Publishing System to standardize the advertising, production and editorial workflows across its 27 community newspapers, says a news release from SCS.

“SCS is proud to work with Jeremy (CEO Jeremy Gulban) and his team at CherryRoad as the company embarks on its journey to give back to its communities with strong, local journalism,” says Phil Curtolo, director of sales at SCS.

SCS offers a line of publishing-related applications, including Layout-8000. SCS is privately held by Kurt Jackson. New Jersey-based CherryRoad Media is a subsidiary of CherryRoad Technologies and owns 27 community papers in Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and Alabama.

Facebook Has Deal to Pay French Publishers

Facebook has struck a deal to pay French publishers for resharing their material, TechCrunch and others reported. The agreement with l’Alliance de la presse d’information generale “means that people on Facebook will be able to continue uploading and sharing news stories freely amongst their communities, whilst also ensuring that the copyright of our publishing partners is protected,” says a Facebook blog post on the deal.

Google made its own deal with French news publishers earlier this year, CNBC and others reported.

Google Cuts Play Store Fees

Google says that more categories of apps in its Play Store for Android will be able to pay less than the regular 30 percent fee, the Verge reported. All subscription-based apps will now pay a 15 percent fee.

“To help support the specific needs of developers offering subscriptions, starting on January 1, 2022, we’re decreasing the service fee for all subscriptions on Google Play from 30% to 15%, starting from day one,” said a blog post from Google. Google is holding an Android Developer Summit on October 27 to 28, where “you’ll hear more about our latest tools, application programming interfaces (APIs) and technologies designed to help developers be more productive and create better apps,” says the post.

Gannett Closes Debt Refinancing

Gannett has arranged some debt refinancing. The details are available here. “This refinancing reduces our cost of capital by nearly 200 basis points, saving significant interest expense, while also improving upon the terms of our prior credit facility entered into in February 2021,” said Michael Reed, Gannett chairman and CEO. Gannett will release its third quarter 2021 financial results on Nov. 5.

Nat Lea Elected President of America’s Newspapers

Nat Lea, president and CEO of WEHCO Media, Little Rock, has been elected president of America’s Newspapers. He succeeds Alan Fisco, president and chief financial officer of The Seattle Times Company, who becomes immediate past president. Members elected officers for 2021–22 during America’s Newspapers. Senior Leadership Conference, held Oct. 17 to 19 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
See more info here.

Lee Enterprises, Mudd Advertising Partner

Lee Enterprises has formed a strategic partnership with Mudd Advertising, an automotive advertising agency. The partnership leverages a customized version of Lee’s Vision platform, enabling Iowa-based Mudd to support the cross-channel marketing efforts of retail automotive dealers and manufacturers across the United States, says a press release on the endeavor.  Vision is a proprietary sales enablement and execution software, powered by Lee’s national agency, Amplified Digital.

“Over the 40 years we’ve been in the automotive space we have experienced seismic changes to our industry and the tools needed to get the job done,” said Rob Mudd, Mudd’s chief futurist. “When first introduced to the Lee Vision software, I knew instantly we had found our technology partner for the future. We were proud to unveil the technology last week in Las Vegas at the Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition.” “This partnership demonstrates the commitment to digital solutions for both organizations,” said Kevin Mowbray, Lee president and chief executive officer.

More News

  • The Observer-Dispatch (Utica, News York) building is up for auction, the Rome Sentinel reports. A listing for the building is on Gannett owns the paper.
  • The News-Gazette (Champaign, Illinois) and its sister radio stations are relocating for the second time in two years, the paper reports. The paper and WDWS-WHMS-WKIO are moving to a building the company purchased at 2101 Fox Drive, C. Community Media Group owns the paper.
  • The Associated Press is making its economic, sports and race call datasets available to leading blockchains via Chainlink, the world’s largest decentralized network of oracles, says the AP in a press release.
  • Outbrain, a recommendation platform for the open web, now has a strategic partnership with Grupo Abril, a media group based in Brazil. Outbrain’s technology will allow Grupo Abril to enhance its digital strategy and boost the company’s revenue diversification and engagement, while also using Outbrain’s network of advertisers, according to Outbrain.
  • The fourth edition of Print & Digital Convention, organized by Fachverband Medienproduktion and Messe Dusseldorf, attracted about 800 participants Oct. 20 to 21 at the Congress Center in Dusseldorf, Germany. The Print & Digital Convention will be held annually until drupa 2024. The Print & Digital Convention will then be integrated into the drupa trade fair, to be held from May 28 to June 7, 2024, in Dusseldorf.


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