Tag Archives: paul godfrey

The glitch in Postmedia’s digital switch

Source: theglobeandmail
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Paul Godfrey escorted directors of Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (PNC.A-T10.00—-%) on a tour of the Calgary Herald earlier this year to showcase the struggling newspaper company’s digital future.

The Postmedia chief executive officer presented a remodelled newsroom where teams juggled written and visual content for the Herald’s websites, social media platforms such as Twitter and its 128-year old newspaper. The Herald has been so much “quicker off the mark” with digital initiatives, Mr. Godfrey said, that it is now one of the company’s most profitable divisions, and a beacon for change at Canada’s largest newspaper publisher.

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Postmedia feels impact of ‘slow and sporadic’ economic recovery, posts Q3 loss

Source: winnipegfreepress.com

TORONTO – Postmedia Network Canada Corp. lost $3.9 million in its third quarter as the newspaper and digital publisher pulled in less print advertising revenues and had higher expenses.

The owner of the National Post newspaper and other major media properties said the loss amounted to 10 cents per share on $259 million in revenue, mainly from advertising, for the three months ended May 31.

The company said Tuesday that consumer confidence was shaky during the quarter and advertisers responded by holding back.

“I think that we’ve had a couple of quite good months and then you have one bad month. We don’t seem to have any real trend taking place,” Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey said on a conference call, describing the situation as “choppy.”

Godfrey said national advertising was up, but retail classified ads were down, as retailers dealt with consumers worried a recession could return, and the HST in British Columbia deterred shoppers from making big-ticket purchases.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty out there which I think is creating people to sit on their hands for a while,” he said.

He said Postmedia (TSX:PNC.A), is seeing some signs of improvement in the early weeks of the fourth quarter, but revenue visibility “remains poor.”

Godfrey’s comments echo those made by rival Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B). The publisher of the Toronto Star also reported lower print advertising revenues during its first quarter in May, saying it is hard to predict the print advertising environment and the pace of economic recovery.

Year-earlier figures for Postmedia aren’t directly comparable because the newspapers were still part of Canwest, which was undergoing a court-supervised restructuring that saw its television assets go to Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) and its newspaper division going to creditors that helped form Postmedia.

In the third quarter of its 2010 financial year, the Canwest papers recorded a profit of $40.6 million with $270 million of revenue. In the first nine months of its 2010 financial year, the company reported a $94.9-million profit and $811 million in revenues.

For the first nine months of its 2011 financial year, which ended May 31, Postmedia lost $10.6 million or 26 cents per share on $788 million in revenue.

Postmedia, which began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange last month, recorded an $11-million loss on debt prepayment, versus zero in the same quarter last year.

Godfrey said the company’s team is focused on new approaches for delivering content, and providing solutions for advertisers and marketers, repaying debt and accelerating revenue generating opportunities.

The company owns 11 English-language daily newspapers including the National Post, Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen as well as the Canada.com website, online versions of its daily papers and deal-a-day website SwarmJam.com.

Newspapers must find ways to sell content

John Shmuel, Financial Post · Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010

Source: financialpost.com

Newspapers will certainly survive well into the future, but that survival is going to rely on finding increasingly new and innovative ways to monetize their content — and not just putting up pay walls.

Finding a happy middle was the message that came through most strongly during the Media in Transformation conference held in Toronto Thursday which was hosted by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

Paul Godfrey, chief executive of Postmedia Network Inc., which owns the National Post, and one of the event’s speakers, said right now all eyes are on newspapers such as The New York Times, which will put up its pay wall in January.

“You know, I think everyone is exploring pay walls. Everybody seems to be waiting to see what happens,” he said in an interview after his speech. “The fact is that that’s going to be one of the big questions.”

Keeping readers, and drawing in new ones after a pay wall goes up meanwhile elicited different opinions from a panel that sat down to debate whether readers should be paying for content at all.

One of the panelists, Andrew Madden, who is Google’s head of strategic partnerships, said newspapers risk bleeding off readership if they erect pay walls that make them invisible to search engines.

“You need to think strategically on how to use search engines and pay walls,” he said.

Mr. Godfrey stressed that innovation was an important facet in monetizing the content of newspapers.

He cited an example where a newspaper might have a restaurant review section, and allow other users to comment or submit their own reviews. In order to monetize the content, the newspaper could charge restaurant owners to post their own submissions about their business, or even post their menus.

“Restaurateurs don’t traditionally advertise in newspapers, it’s just too expensive for them,” he said. “But something like that gives them an opportunity to be able to use our platform.”

Mr. Godfrey also said it was crucial that the newspaper industry direct capital spending toward improving digital con-tent, rather than spending it on traditional technologies.

“We can’t be spending it on printing presses because, A, they’re very costly, and you can get a printing press that’s 20 years old and it’s still in great working condition,” he said. “But now printing presses have colour on every page for example, so you’re behind the times five years after you spend millions and millions of dollars.”

And whereas improving the traditional newspaper medium will likely only serve to impress current readers, Mr. Godfrey said increasing capital spending on digital content and delivery will help build an audience, since digital content can engage audiences in ways newspapers can’t.

Of course, funding digital content won’t matter unless people are willing to pay for it. The good news, however, is that most of the event’s speakers believed that readers are willing to pay for quality content.

“If you have exclusive content, niche content — people are drawn to that,” said Lynne Brennan, senior vice-president of circulation for Dow Jones & Company. “If you provide readers with something they want, they’re going to pay for it.”

jshmuel@nationalpost.com