Media workers strike to protest layoffs at New York Daily News, Forbes and Condé Nast
Journalists at The New York Daily News and Forbes walked off the job Thursday amid contentious contract talks with management and a difficult few weeks in the news industry.
Both strike are historic: It’s the first-ever at the business-focused magazine in more than a century, and the first at the storied newspaper in more than three decades, according to the NewsGuild of New York.
The one-day strike at the Daily News coincides with Forbes walkout, which runs through Monday.
Local media outlets report digital ad revenue trending up, LMC survey finds
The Local Media Consortium today announced the findings from its Local Media Industry Insights Survey 2023, which asked local media industry professionals about the year-over-year state of the industry and outlook for 2024.
The survey, which was conducted Sept. 11-15, 2023, was open to Local Media Consortium members and non-members. Respondents included C-suite executives, sales, marketing, operations, IT and other professionals employed by local newspapers, broadcast and online news outlets across North America and Puerto Rico.
Nearly half of the local media respondents (49%) reported digital advertising revenue was up in 2023 versus the previous year, with 21% saying it was flat and 19% reporting a decrease in digital ad revenue. 44% of respondents reported consumer revenue up versus last year, 24% said it was flat and 7% saw a decrease. Looking ahead to 2024, a majority (79%) of local media industry professionals anticipate an increase in overall digital revenue, while only 3% expect a decrease in digital revenue next year.
“It’s encouraging to see that local media professionals have such a positive outlook for their digital business, despite many challenges navigating the ever-changing digital landscape,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. “It will be interesting to watch how continued digital transformation, advancements in AI for content, advertising and operations, and the upcoming election impact the local news business, which we expect will continue to play a vital role in communities across the country.”
Amsterdam News Increases Payment Collections by 60%
“We were definitely ready to change,” said Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, the President and Chief Revenue Officer of Amsterdam News in New York, NY, when reflecting on the state of their tech stack two years ago. Bennett characterized the newspaper’s old software system as “remarkably antiquated.” Not only was it time-consuming to use, but the system “made it very difficult to extract global financial analysis and follow up with clients with overdue payments.” These inefficiencies resulted in large balances accruing. A recent analysis showed that under this old system, Amsterdam News had been collecting only 40 cents on every dollar sold on legals. “I remember looking at our old tech stack and saying, this can’t go on anymore,” shared Bennett.
In 2023, Amsterdam News partnered with Column to streamline. Bennett highlighted three stand-out reasons why their choice to go with Column has paid off.
- User-Friendly Platform: Column has stood out to Amsterdam News as the easiest software to use. “Out of all the new technology we’ve adopted during our digital transformation, Column is by far the most user-friendly,” emphasized Bennett. “It’s exceptionally simple to learn.”
- Enhanced Financial Reporting: Column has streamlined the financial analysis of legal and LLC sales performance for Bennett and her revenue operations team. “Column has an exceptional reporting feature that gives us a solid overview of our performance,” said Bennett. “As Chief Revenue Officer, I appreciate that I can look at my Column dashboard and easily see what sales have happened.”
- Self-Serve Interface for Clients: Bennett underscored the autonomy that Column gives to clients, revolutionizing the newspaper’s service offerings. Amsterdam News’ frequent, high-volume clients can now independently place their legal ads. “Shaquana Folks, our leader of Legal, LLC, and Classifieds, is able to guide clients to create their own Column account and place their legal ads directly,” explained Bennett. “Column’s self-serve features dramatically improve the services we’re able to offer our clients.”
The introduction of Column to Amsterdam News’ tech stack has catalyzed a significant improvement in payment collections for the paper. “Column has positioned us to get near 100 percent of every dollar sold on legals,” said Bennett. “The software’s advanced features help streamline prompt payment so that we realize as much of our actual sales as possible.”
Bennett attributes this impact to Column’s increased financial transparency to the newspaper’s staff. “In the world we used to be in, our classified department would be managing the placement of insertions but wouldn’t have visibility into finances,” said Bennett. “Now they can actually see what’s going on.” The once detached worlds of finances and day-to-day work now have a bridge, giving staff more clarity and insight into the underlying operations. Shaquana Folks, the Head of Legal, LLC, Classifieds at Amsterdam News, noted, “There’s a whole level of transparency that Column creates. At a glance, I can see exactly what’s going on with payments.” Column’s system makes it clear to both the client and to the newspaper who has paid and who hasn’t. “It’s a great tool to use to get past overdue balances paid before we help a client with their next insertion,’” expounded Folks.
Bennett added, “I’m a big believer that you don’t put your reps in a position of being collectors. They should be in the position of selling. But Folks is remarkably adroit at looking at a client’s past balances before processing more requests.”
Folks highlighted the three most impactful payment features that Column offers: payment alerts, invoice reminders, and the option for prepayment. “I get email alerts when clients make payments,” said Folks. “With our old system, it was hard to decipher which client had paid for their ad. I needed a hard copy record of it, or I’d have to import the data manually. On the contrary, Column notifies me when a client has paid, which makes it easier to follow up with the people I need to.”