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Satisfying Audiences

Does your news media company really know what “audience” means?

23 November 2015 · By Maria Terrell


  1. The group of spectators at a public event; listeners or viewers collectively, as in attendance at a theater or concert.

  2. The persons reached by a book, radio, or television broadcast, etc.; public.

  3. A regular public that manifests interest, support, enthusiasm, or the like; a following.

  4. Opportunity to be heard; chance to speak to or before a person or group; a hearing.

As we know in the publishing business, audience is key. We sell more advertising because of it, we beat our chests when we reach a certain number, and we believe what we are doing is ultimately for “our audience.”

Looking at the quick online definition of “audience” – I think it’s a good eye opener for us that we’re not quite getting it … yet.

First: The group of spectators or listeners at a public event; listeners or viewers and the persons reached by a book, radio, or television broadcast, etc. This is what we are calling our audience, and rightly so. However, as we dig further into the question of audience, many of us are still blindly counting a pair of eyeballs as audience, without identifying who that audience really is.

Due to cumbersome legacy systems that leave our companies in a silo, many of us only know one ...


Authentic connections are key to audience growth strategy

12 November 2015 · By Nicki Purcell

When I explained to others about why I got a journalism degree, I spoke of the fond memories of growing up with my grandfather who worked on television news for many years. The romantic story was that I was “wired” to be in communications. But secretly, I also liked the idea of telling a story then leaving it behind when the story was “put to bed.”

It was simple: You wake up and get a story assignment, and you complete it before you go home. Wake the next day, rinse, and repeat.

Journalists are taught to be fair, objective, and to present all sides of the story. We are taught to detach.

That detachment extends to the business side of journalism, too. Today when we talk about satisfying audiences, we naturally think of the reader or the consumer. In digital, we talk of “users” or “uniques.”

But what about the subjects? What about the very real people who are at the center of the stories we tell? They are an audience.

On the business side, we have been talking more and more about building relationships with ...


Is the future of coupons mobile?

10 November 2015 · By Dan Johnson

Judging by the increasing size of the Sunday advertising insert package, the fall season is in full swing and the holidays are quickly approaching.

Two years ago, I wrote about predictions of impending doom for the pre-print industry. Well, here we are two years later and pre-prints show no sign of slowing down. While other alternatives do exist, advertisers and print media outlets have still not found a completely workable digital replacement for free-standing inserts (FSI) or, more importantly, coupons.

Print coupons continue to reign supreme, but electronic options are growing, and news media companies need to be ready and able to adapt.

While “extreme” couponing is somewhat of a fad that has come and gone, coupons continue to be popular, according to the 2015 industry promotion analysis produced by Inmar, a technology company that tracks and reports on the promotions industry. The report, which can be downloaded here, indicates that 2014 coupon usage remained steady compared to the previous ...


9 revenue paths your news media company should be exploring

08 November 2015 · By John Newby

We have all heard the questions – maybe we are even guilty of asking the questions ourselves: Are we of a digital-first mindset? Are we more traditional in our business approach? Is mobile really the future of our industry? What is the future of print?

I would submit that, while these questions are great discussion starters, we are really asking all the wrong questions. To survive well into the future, we need to look at it in a very simple way: We must be customer first. If we are customer first, all the other questions will go in directions where the customers reside.

For some customers, that will involve being print first. For others, that might be desktop first, and for others it may be mobile first. For others it may be Big Data first, and for others it will be e-commerce first. And yet others might demand events first or even membership club first.

You get the point: The news media business plan of the future must ...


How one news media company rescued saves without revenue-losing copies

28 October 2015 · By Jim Fleigner

For news media companies, the tension between top-line versus bottom-line objectives has never been more pronounced.

As seen in the diagram below, some companies are in current pursuit of a top-line goal, such as boosting circulation, often at the expense of a bottom-line goal, such as increasing cash flow. 

This can be seen in such tactics as an over-investment in acquisition, the acceptance of unprofitable customers, the use of too many channels, or an overextended geographic footprint.

Meanwhile, other news media companies are trying to pursue a bottom-line goal, such as lifting cash flow, often at the expense of a top-line circulation goal.

This can be seen in the systematic migration or pruning of unprofitable subscribers, the reduction or elimination of aggressive introductory pricing programmes, or a more targeted participation strategy.

Yet in the long-run, an inevitable trade-off exists between top-line circulation and bottom-line cash flow goals.

As seen in the chart, a company in pursuit of a top-line goal has no choice but to pursue potential subscribers that are increasingly marginal in their profit ...


6 reasons home-delivered newspaper flyers continue to succeed

22 October 2015 · By Kevin Curnock

When looking at the printed newspaper business in 2015, it is nice to see a ray of light.

Right now, this ray of light is the flyer distribution business. Printed flyers “are king,” according to those retailers who depend on them. As other forms of printed media face contracting demand – declining newspaper readership, reduced ROP ad spends, shrinking distribution of business directories – it is the humble door-to-door flyer business that has upward momentum.

What is it about flyers that retailers and customers like so much?

Here are six reasons ...


7 data rules of the road from experts at INMA Data Insights Conference

05 October 2015 · By Lynne Brennen

Here I am in seat 17D with an oblivious seat recliner in front of me and a computer so jack-knifed I can barely read the screen much less type with hands inches from my chest like tiny arms of a T-Rex.

But that won’t temper my enthusiasm because I’m flying home after two days at INMA’s Data Insights Conference in Chicago, where we heard from experts about how to successfully implement analytics strategies, no matter the budget, and quickly drive value for an organisation.

For your consideration, below are just a few highlights distilled into seven data rules of the road.

  1. Develop a culture within an organisation that trusts and respects data.

    Tom Argiriou from Gannett warned that companies must trust the data insights from the systems and people in which they invest. Don’t build a quality data science team of people, implement supporting technology, and then distrust the answers they ...

INMA explores how data increases revenue, audience at Chicago conference

29 September 2015 · By Lynne Brennen

The INMA Data Insights Conference will be held in Chicago Oct. 1-2. We will learn from experts inside and outside the publishing industry about how to leverage data insights into more impactful content, more engaged audiences, and more revenue.

Three mores are worth a quick flight to Chicago, don’t you think?

Heading into the INMA conference, we will all likely have our perspectives on how to build a data-driven enterprise. The data insights process can be very simple, and, clearly, success is in the details.

Details are important if we want to create that renewing engine of ...


The secret sauce of a customised relationship with your media audience

17 September 2015 · By Maria Terrell

“So, tell me about your relationship,” says the therapist, and the weepy-eyed leading lady in the romantic comedy starts blubbering about what she thought her relationship was versus what she wanted it to be. We’ve seen it a million times.

This got me thinking about relationships. There’s always what one thinks it is, what the other thinks it is, and the reality.

Right, Maria – what in the name of burnt toast does this have to do with the news media industry?

Stay with me and buckle up …

Tell me about your relationship – and by that, I mean tell me about your relationship with your audience.

We’re so concerned about audience: gaining audience, audience development, satisfying audiences

But what is your relationship with your audience? What is your audience to you? Is it one audience? Multiple audiences? Most importantly, what do you want to ...


If a design brand can entice readers to click now to buy, media companies can, too

10 September 2015 · By Kathleen Coleman

So there I was, minding my own dang business, slogging through e-mails with super fun subject lines:

  • “2015 reforecast.”

  • “1-on-1 this week.”

  • “E-edition database project.”

  • “Derp.”

Ping! A new e-mail arrived: “Go now! The most magical town in California. We’re heading to dreamy coastal Cali and giving you ALL the best sp….” It trailed off tantalizingly.

I noted the sender: One Kings Lane, a company I trust. So I clicked.

The come-on continued with a stunning full-colour, full-screen photo of Big Sur, and a short, well-written paragraph:

“Nestled along Highway 1 in a narrow sliver between the Pacific’s rocky cliffs and the soaring redwoods of the Santa Lucia Mountains, Big Sur has long attracted creative types looking to lose themselves in one way or another. Jack Kerouac came to dry out. Hunter S. Thompson came to be a caretaker. You’ll want to come see why hippies and hipsters alike flock to the California town for its magical, mythical vibe. We love it for its breathtaking views, quirky lodging, and chill scene – and it’s just a short drive from San Francisco.”

Magical, mythical vibe? I’m down with that.

Cleanly designed, colour photos, loads of white space, and packed with helpful shopping advice. This e-mail from the home goods online retailer One Kings Lane is an e-commerce practitioner’s dream.

And of course news media companies would be super smart to steal ...


About this blog

The Satisfying Audiences Blog aims to reflect print and digital content not just across platforms but extending into consumer events, non-news-related subscriptions and other audience vehicles for newsmedia companies. This blog written by INMA members is dedicated to identifying the emerging linkages between content, audiences, and platforms. The blog is an initiative by the INMA North America Division Board of Directors.

Meet the bloggers

Lynne Brennen
New Leaf Media Consulting
Montclair, New Jersey, USA
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Nadine Chevolleau
Consumer Marketing
The Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Kathleen Coleman
Sales & Marketing
S-R Media
Spokane, Washington, USA
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Kevin Curnock
Executive Director
Business Improvement
Brunswick News
St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
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Jim Fleigner
Managing Partner
Impact Consultancy
Santa Monica, California, United States
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Claire Hawley
Vice President of Audience Development
Tribune Publishing
Los Angeles, California, USA
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Dan Johnson
Vice President,
Business Development
Gilbert, Arizona, USA
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Sandy MacLeod
Chief Operating Officer, Print
The Toronto Star/Metro English
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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John Newby
The Times
Ottawa, Illinois, USA
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Nicki Purcell
Chief Digital Officer and Senior Vice President of Consumer Sales
The Dallas Morning News
Dallas, Texas, USA
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Dan Schaub
Corporate Director of Audience Development
The McClatchy Company
Sacramento, California, United States
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Maria Terrell
Director of Content
Dallas, Texas, USA
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New York City, New York, USA


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