Debby Krenek, publisher at Newsday on Long Island in New York, is proud of the community-serving content her media company produces. One year ago, the news brand launched Feed Me, one of the news media company’s most engaging multi-media initiatives. 

Feed Me is an umbrella title for a family of products Newsday has begun producing, including a series on the area’s top 100 restaurants. On launch day in July 2018, page views shot up from less than 720 to more than 12,000 in that one day.

Further capitalising on the brand, Newsday’s glossy, quarterly Feed Me Magazine has reached more than 130,000 subscribers with an e-mail blast incorporating click-throughs to the online magazine and a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the magazine that creates additional value for subscribers. Its benefits to the brand are many:

  • It drives engagement and awareness with audiences that are passionate about food and dining.
  • It helps retain subscribers by showing exclusive original content that increases customer lifetime value.
  • It creates a future single subscription product that has the potential to generate revenue to a segmented audience.
  • It satisfies readers’ interest in expanded local food coverage from humble to haute.
  • It provides local food lovers an inside look at Long Island and New York City’s thriving dining scene. 

To help the project succeed, Newsday’s consumer marketing team created a cross-platform marketing campaign to promote the new magazine to subscribers. Promotions kicked off with ads in Newsday’s print edition, as well as online ads including several featured on Facebook, Instagram, Newsday.com, and Google Networks.

In addition, the consumer marketing team produced a 30-second broadcast TV commercial on Optimum Network and YouTube and 30-second radio commercials that aired with Newsday’s media partner Connoisseur Media.

Meanwhile, Feed Me’s TV series garnered more than 200,000 lifetime views through the end of 2018, with a campaign that includes promotional video commercials that have reached nearly two million impressions and e-mail blasts that reached more than 460,000 recipients. It’s Season Three episodes saw a 43% growth year-over-year, and Season Four reached more than 95,000 video views.

We recently talked to Krenek, who joined the INMA Board of Directors in June, about leadership, Newsday’s biggest successes, and what keeps her up at night.

INMA: What did you learn in 2018 that is guiding your leadership in 2019?

Krenek: It takes a village and we have a very talented team at Newsday that is driving our transformation. We are a data-informed company, but our strong content is key to our success and understanding how our users engage with that is job No. 1. 

INMA: What success within your company are you most proud of at this moment?

Krenek: There are many but I’ll give you a couple. First, our award-winning journalism stands at the forefront of everything that we do, and our investigations and deep community coverage are what Long Islanders cite first as the reason Newsday is important to them. We have been growing our data and digital storytelling capabilities with these stories and have seen continued growing user engagement. 

Second, about a year and a half ago, we saw in our data that food/restaurant coverage did really well with our users and they wanted more than we were giving them. So we set out to build a vertical brand for that group with the hope it would be successful and we could replicate it across other areas of interest. 

Feed Me started as a blog in July, 2018, and has since expanded into a print magazine and a TV series.
Feed Me started as a blog in July, 2018, and has since expanded into a print magazine and a TV series.

So we expanded our Feed Me blog brand into a 15-minute Feed Me TV show into a Feed Me magazine, which is an opt-in product for our subscribers and across our social platforms. Bottom line is the use of both the TV series and the magazine continue to grow. When we first started, few people knew the Feed Me brand. Now it is well-known, and our research shows that it adds greatly to customer lifetime value. 

INMA: What is Newsday Media Group’s biggest idea/initiative for 2019?

Krenek: We have found through research that most people look at Newsday as the newspaper with a Web site. We want to change that image because we are building to be so much more than that. We want people on Long Island to be part of the Newsday experience — whether it is with our print products, digital products, voice products, video products, or our immersive events and deals. We want to become indispensable to Long Islanders. 

To that end, we have launched a brand called Newsday Live, which includes all the events subscribers have either free or reduced cost access to. They range from events like Meet the ’69 Mets to travel shows and music concerts. Our goal is to both live stream and do VOD on these events so we can broaden even further the people these events can reach. 

We are building a TV/video studio that will produce targeted videos on topics we know our users want. These will be pushed out through alerts and users can sign up to personalise their experience. 

We are also currently testing subscriber “eXperience Long Island” boxes that give subscribers who opt-in access to boxes of Long Island produced items, which is something people have been asking for. 

We are working with our younger audiences to develop products/deals that bring value to them and encourage them to continue with Newsday beyond their parents’ subscription. 

INMA: What do you see as the big opportunities in 2019 and how are you taking advantage of them?

Krenek: We think the use of AI and personalisation will continue to grow, and we hope to work with a partner on an AI paywall that is more targeted for our users and their preferences than the current metered model. 

INMA: What keeps you up at night?

Krenek: How to reach the younger generation that is used to getting content for free and is our future, which is one of the reasons we continue to build the Newsday experience. We must be relevant to Long Islanders no matter how they want to engage with us, and we understand that will be different for different people.

I also worry as more and more places continue to ask consumers to pay for subscriptions that they will be forced to make choices, and we want to make sure Newsday is so important in their lives that we are that choice.