Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Revenue 2012: The Newspaper as Entrepreneur: Changing to Survive and Create New Revenue Streams

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Revenue 2012: The Newspaper as Entrepreneur: Changing to Survive and Create New Revenue Streams

Article excerpt



It was just a short while ago that print publications were writing their own obituaries, seemingly giving up the fight for audiences and advertisers in the onset of the digital age. That is no longer the case.

In 2012, print organizations are finding new ways to retain and grow audiences and advertising. By thinking creatively, print organizations are finding ways to take on digital media and level the playing field.

Now, companies like The New York Times and Los Angeles Times are offering classes and lectures for the public. The Los Angeles paper has a huge book fair and gives out annual book awards. They and many other newspapers create and sponsor events and merchandise. The New York Times, for example, has for many years sold photos and front-page reprints. They have a wine club (, as does The Wall Street Journal (, through which individuals can buy wines at different price points. Newspaper groups are joining together in advertising ventures ( and in any other way that will help in this changing environment.

In short, in the quest to survive and thrive, newspapers are turning very entrepreneurial.



Last month, the New York Times announced a travel program called "Times Journeys" which, according to a press release, "will engage participants in conversation and thought-provoking analysis on an expedition of seminars covering current events, film, science, music, and technology." Film critic A.O. Scott will be among Times staffers on the journey.

The Times also hosts "Arts & Leisure" weekends throughout the year. This gives people the opportunity to hear public figures they might otherwise not have an opportunity to hear. January's roster included composer Philip Glass; actors Carey Mulligan, Juliana Margulies, Josh Charles, and Alan Rickman; designer Simon Doonan; and writer Robert King from the IT show "The Good Wife." Considering what entertainment costs these days (especially New York theater) the ticket price is moderate--$30.

As the New York Times draws on the city's theater and arts communities to give the public access to these events, so does the Los Angeles Times take advantage of its location in the movie-making capital. The L.A. Times' special section "The Envelope" devoted to Hollywood awards shows, sponsors a free screening series where, after the film, the actors and filmmakers are interviewed.

On its Events page, the paper says, "The Los Angeles Times has brought readers the information they need to make their lives more productive and enjoyable. As an extension of that mission, we produce an annual series of public events."

Toward this end, the paper also hosts a travel show, book fair and book prizes, and, this year, will host its Third Annual Directors Roundtable, featuring George Clooney, Stephen Daldry, Michel Hazanavicius, Alexander Payne, and Martin Scorsese.

In June, the Times will host "A Night of Music + Fashion" and "Hero Complex," a film festival for sci-fi and fantasy film fans. Some of these events benefit local nonprofits.



In August 2008, still a student at the University of Pennsylvania and seeing how print organizations were feeling great pressure from both digital media and a broken economy, blogger Albert Sun posted a list of"nine ways that newspapers can make money that aren't advertising." These included merchandising, consulting, localization of news, and customer service.

Sun's 2008 post has proven to be prescient. Today, there is merchandising, consulting, hyperlocal news, and enhanced customer service at newspapers across the country.

For example, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, the Star Tribune Co. ( is using its carrier force to create new products and revenue opportunities. …

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