Wave 2 Blog

Regional press revenue innovation

In our blog we’ve always emphasised the need for regional publishers to broaden revenue streams as they navigate 21st Century publishing. Predominantly we’ve looked at tech innovation particularly in regard to our portfolio of automated publishing solutions.

However, it’s not just technology that’s important. It’s also the innovative and entrepreneurial approach of the publisher that’s vital. We’ve seen this at first hand with our client Kent Messenger Media Group – you can read the full details here – whereby the tech changes are being implemented hand in hand with a change of mindset.

Indeed, KM Media Group’s internal culture is evolving from a print-based business model to a broader multimedia model in line with the technological changes we’re implementing. So we need to stress that innovation comes in many forms, not just technology.

For that reason our interest was really piqued by a recent story covering Alabama’s B Metro magazine. The publisher of B Metro, Joe O’Donnell realised that his Birmingham (Al, US) readers held his publication in high esteem, so much so that it carried great kudos when a business was featured or covered in some way.

Realising the power and credibility of his brand, Joe subsequently launched ‘Faces’. What’s that you might ask? Local advertisers buy into a special section owning a category such as ‘car body repair, restaurants or beauty salons’. The local advertiser subsequently receives a ‘hero’ profile photo which is taken at the place of business alongside a description of why that particular business is so good or desirable.

It might seem an obvious play, and in some ways it is, but it’s also a great way of a regional newspaper bonding with its local community as well as earning greater revenue. Moreover, the Faces phenomenon has taken off. Since B Metro started the trend, many other regional publishers across the States have taken it up, from as far afield as Denver, Detroit and Rhode Island.

In short, it’s turning into a regional press trend which is delivering greater advertising dollars, creating a deeper feel-good factor within the community and broadening revenue streams.

Joe O’Donnell, take a bow.

PS You can read more about the Faces phenomenon here.