Generating incremental revenue with repurposed content and sports video


The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, has done a good job of generating incremental revenue with repurposed content in print — notably with printed materials and video.

These efforts build on the Star-Ledger's “Everything Jersey” brand position that aims to be the pre-eminent producer, aggregator, and disseminator of content for and about New Jersey, its residents, communities, and businesses — on every delivery platform and in every media format economically and technologically viable.

Printed materials: Shortly after my arrival here five years ago, sports fans and alumni were galvanized by Rutgers University's football team's “amazing season.” The Rutgers team not only had their first winning season in years, they had a near perfect season and went on to their first post-season bowl game — and won. Our newsroom covered the season game by game, presenting comprehensive coverage.

Our first repurposed content revenue venture was a beautiful hard cover coffee table book titled Rutgers: An Amazing Season. Essentially a reprint, the book was offered at a special pre-publication price weeks before the team finished the season and each game's coverage was presented as a chapter. Great opportunity to capitalize on the news, alumni/fan passion, holiday timing and lots of lessons learned in the process. At US$30 per copy, the book grossed in the low six figures and netted a respectable P&L.

Since then we have fielded eight books and a handful of posterized pages and generated not only hundreds of thousands of dollars but tremendous branding and reader engagement. We have enhanced our relationship with advertisers who have signed on as publication sponsors, with state tourism officials (we themed one book on local destinations to promote their new marketing initiative), and we have expanded the product portfolio we offer to clients. We found that our new book and poster publishing capabilities gave us the opportunity to publish for clients and have begun to publish museum catalogs and other high end materials, a new profit center we had not originally anticipated.

Video: The Star-Ledger newsroom began producing video news, primarily high school sports, in late 2005. Over the years we have expanded from online clips to presenting full game and match coverage with commentary. Working with local schools, the marketing department developed its own production team to create an expanded schedule and present a “game of the week” and secured the media rights to New Jersey interscholastic sports championships.

In early 2009, we were approached by a major cable TV network that wanted not only game rights but also wanted to purchase our game broadcast. Later, a second network approached us about using our game clips in their programming.

Our video content, originally intended exclusively for our website, will generate several hundred thousand dollars in 2010.

All of these initiatives are profitable, all of them included substantial outsourcing to minimize staffing and overhead, and all of them were brand-centric and contributed to the credibility of our “Everything Jersey” platform.

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