Publishers Making Profits: Spotlight on Gannett Digital with GM and VP Josh Resnik

Gannett is the nation’s leading newspaper group, operating 85 daily and more than 1,000 non-daily publications. It is also one of the largest television broadcasting concerns, reaching 18 percent of the USA,  and operating more than 130 news content websites, reaching 15 percent of the American internet audience. The significance? Gannett has thrived, posting a 30 percent rise in profits this last quarter, in a world in which publishers and broadcasters are scrambling to create new revenue streams and find more detailed, predictive metrics. How did Gannett do it? Gannett Digital GM and VP Josh Resnik spoke with DIGIDAY: DATA on the reasons for his company’s success.

 

Q: What is the role of Gannett Digital within the Gannett Group?

Gannett Digital consists of a media group of over 100 high-affinity online & mobile properties that appeal to local, national and special consumer interests. The media group reaches over 49 million consumers on a monthly basis. Gannett Digital also employs marketing services that improve campaign performance. These include unique content-integrated advertising solutions, advanced targeting (e.g. behavioral, contextual and re-targeting), and high impact rich media and interactive design solutions for all digital platforms.

The Gannett Digital Network consists of premium online properties such as USATODAY.com, The Arizona Republic, Detroit Free Press, Metromix.com, HighSchoolSports.net, MomsLikeMe.com, and more than 100 hyper local news and information sites.

 

Q: How does Gannett Digital work with Gannett’s local properties across the country to develop local and national advertising strategies?

Gannett’s local properties have a better understanding of local audiences than any national publisher. We are extending historically strong and trusted local brands to every relevant digital channel. We work very closely with local properties across the country. National brands can easily advertise on the local or niche sites with the same ad buy, making the process seamless. Our local sites are trusted names that have been around for decades, and in some cases over a century. We have a national sales force as well as individual local sales teams in over 100 markets.

 

Q: Gannett has been successful thus far in adapting to new technologies. What are some tactics that have helped you thrive in the face of the changing landscape?

Advertisers benefit from our ad serving and technology infrastructure that makes it easy to deliver custom creative aligned with quality local content. Furthermore, we use ContextWeb’s semantic targeting platform to allow advertisers to reach audiences based on content, not only behaviors or demographics. With this technology, we’re able to map every piece of content to more specific categories than for example, “news” alone, when a story could be considered “news,” “business,” or “health.”  Gannett has also acquired best-in-class marketing services technologies over the years, for example Pointroll and ShopLocal, so we are well positioned in this space.

 

Q: USA Today is constantly on the top iPhone/iPad downloaded list. What has contributed to the success of Gannett’s mobile apps?

The USA TODAY apps have a simple, scalable design and architecture that ensures a quick-loading flow of frequently updated news throughout the day – this is key to enabling us to cover news in real time.

Additionally, all of our apps and mobile web sites are easy to navigate. We provide users with a sound navigational context and make it simple for them to find the information they’re seeking, be it articles, photo galleries, or videos.

Gannett also has some of the best journalism and content production in the industry. Be it our national coverage through USA TODAY or local coverage through our local newspaper and television sites, our mobile properties have a much broader and more comprehensive approach to the day’s events than many of our competitors.

Our apps and sites also provide users with a deep set of features. For example, with the addition of USA TODAY’s extremely popular Crosswords at the end of 2010 and much more to come in 2011, the USA TODAY iPad app remains best-in-class in the news industry.

Finally, the advertising experience with the help of our Gannett-owned PointRoll, has been equally engaging and non-intrusive. It’s a delicate balance to strike on mobile and tablet devices, but essential to a good user experience.

 

Q: What should we expect from GDN in 2011?

2011 will be an interesting and exciting year for Gannett Digital. The tablet market will be a place of monetization and growth. We’re currently working to develop apps for all the devices coming out this year. There’s a lot of opportunity out there for mobile media and advertising.  Beyond that, advertisers are increasingly interested in reaching consumers through unified campaigns across platforms, and Gannett’s national/local cross-platform assets provide an excellent foundation for solutions to meet those needs.

 

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