NAA Roundup: Gannett Announces Acquisition of Journal Media Group

Gannett Announces Acquisition of Journal Media Group

Gannett Co., Inc. and Journal Media Group, Inc. announced a merger agreement in which Gannett will acquire Journal Media Group’s outstanding common stock for approximately $280 million and add approximately $450 million to its revenues. The merger is expected to become final in the first quarter of 2016.

Having been approved by both company boards of directors, the deal is now only subject to Journal Media Group (JMG) shareholder approval. Under the acquisition, JMG shareholders will receive $12.00 per share in cash, a premium of 44.6%.
JMG owns 17 dailies, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and 18 weeklies. Together, Journal Media Group and Gannett represent 106 local markets in the U.S. Their combined digital audience comprises 100 million unique domestic visitors per month.

Journal Media Group’s close proximity of some of its markets will allow Gannett to further utilize its printing and distribution capabilities.

The acquisition is part of Gannett’s industry consolidation strategy and will allow the newly combined company to achieve significant operating efficiencies.

Promising Quicker Page Loads, Google AMP Project Attracts Publishers in Test Phase

Several publishers, including Gannett, Hearst, The New York Times, The Washington Post and others are testing out Google’s new web platform, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), currently in its testing phase and which has been found to drastically cut down on page load times, providing an enhanced reader experience. Publishing partners will provide input during the development phase.

During the preview, The Times plans to allow the majority of its recently-published articles to be found through a preview version of Google search, on the AMP project website. The Washington Post says its pages will look and feel like its mobile web pages, but will virtually eliminate page load wait time for readers.

AMP is comprised of web content published using AMP HTML, which is designed to block any scripting that will or could slow down page load time, including JavaScript, which is used to develop most online ads.

The benefits to publishers include more efficient access to their content, which could positively impact readership, as well as much of their content being conducive to using the pared-down AMP HTML platform. However, like Facebook Instant Articles, the publisher loses some control, including the ability to track the content and obtain analytics.

As readers increasingly access newspaper content via mobile devices, reducing page load speed is a focal point. With AMP page load times checking in at a fraction of the original load time of the same article, AMP will appeal to many publishers, but the value as it relates to the trade-offs in development, content control and tracking remains to be seen.

AMP is still in the early testing phases and is expected to have supporters starting later this year into early 2016.

New York Times Launches “Times Insider”, Takes Subscribers Behind-the-Scenes of Stories

The New York Times has launched Times Insider, an overhauled premium digital subscription offering that expands on the former Times Premier. Current at-home delivery and digital subscribers can sign up to receive their first eight weeks of Times Insider for free. After that, they can elect to subscribe at $8 for four weeks.

In addition to accessing Times content, Times Insider subscribers will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes of Times articles. Times Insider gives readers more of what they want, which is to get an “insider”look at how the news, features and opinion pieces come together, including the 2016 presidential campaign.

Times Insider will also host exclusive live events on current events and special interest topics, as well as weekly podcasts called “Inside the Times,” hosted by editor Susan Lehman.

As with Times Premier, Times Insider subscribers also receive two T-Books each month, as well as full access to the T-Books library and two additional complimentary All Digital Access subscriptions to share with friends.

The Washington Post Introduces “Your Three” Related Video Content

The Washington Post has introduced a new video interface called Your Three. With Your Three, readers will automatically see videos with similar content to the article on the same page. The three Post-produced videos will be grouped together by theme and offer a broader, more-detailed exploration of a topic.

The videos cover a range of issues and users can use their mobile devices to swipe from one group to another or within a group to select what they want to watch.

Your Three is part of a larger effort by The Post to experiment with emerging platforms to offer content in desirable formats.

Staff Updates:

Gannett Co., Inc.: Kelly Andresen is joining Gannett as Vice President, Branded Content. Andresen will focus on expanding the company’s branded content efforts across all platforms. She will start with Gannett on October 12.

Andresen has more than 14 years of experience in advertising marketing. Before coming to Gannett, she was director of the WP BrandStudio & Planning at The Washington Post and was a marketing manager at SiriusXM.

GateHouse Media: Bernie Szachara, Senior VP of Publishing for GateHouse Media, became President of Eastern U.S. Publishing Operations on October 7, 2015. In this new role, Szachara will be responsible for GateHouse Media’s New England properties. Szachara will continue to lead centralized commercial print, third party distribution and production operations.

Szachara joined GateHouse Media in 2013 as the head of Local Media Group. He led 47 daily newspapers, numerous weekly and niche publications and their online presences. Prior to GateHouse, Szachara spent 20 years with Gannett and also served as Executive Vice President of Strategy, Operations and IT at The Denver Post.


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