Online highlights from McClatchy’s second quarter 2009 results unveiled yesterday:

“McClatchy continues its transition to a successful hybrid print and online company. Our digital audience continues to grow impressively. Average monthly unique visitors to our websites were up 30.1% in the second quarter following 26.7% growth in the first quarter of 2009. Still, the recession is impacting our digital business. Our digital advertising was down 2.9% in the second quarter of 2009, hurt particularly by declining employment advertising. Excluding employment advertising, which has declined nationally both in print and online, our online advertising revenue grew 24.7% in the second quarter of this year.

“Our digital performance has been aided by ownership stakes in CareerBuilder, Cars.com, and Apartments.com, leading companies in the digital classified advertising arena. And our growth in digital retail advertising of 50.7% in the first half of 2009 is fueled in part by our partnerships with Yahoo! and other technology companies.

“As we continue our successful migration to a multimedia company, we are less vulnerable to print declines and the secular shifts of advertising to digital media. Digital advertising represented 16.5% of total advertising in the second quarter, up from 11.8% in the second quarter of 2008. In June, digital advertising represented 17.3% of total advertising.

via McClatchy Reports Growth in Second Quarter 2009 Earnings – Yahoo! Finance.

What it means: McClatchy, the Sacramento newspaper publisher, reported better than expected profits even though ad revenues fell more than 30%. Cost-cutting measures (severe layoffs and salary reductions) contributed to the results. Interesting to see that online revenues are up a very good 24.7% if you exclude employment ads. Also interesting: 17.3% of their total revenues came from online in June.  McClatchy is the third-largest newspaper publisher in the US. They bought Knight-Ridder in 2006.

Excerpt from  “McClatchy will make $200mln from digital this year” via MediaFile

At McClatchy, 15% of our advertising revenue today comes from online. McClatchy, a company founded before the advent of electric lights, will generate nearly $200 million dollars in digital revenue this year at a higher profit margin than our print business.

What significance is this?

* Fifteen percent is above the average newspaper publisher’s take from digital

* $200 million would be almost enough to run The New York Times’s newsroom operations for a year. Not bad.

Mini-what it means: interesting data points about % of online revenues vs. print &  total online revenues at McClatchy.

Via Mathew Ingram’s blog:

Topix, the local news aggregator that is owned by several big U.S. newspaper chains (Gannett, The Tribune and McClatchy), is doing what amounts to a relaunch of the site and adding “citizen journalism” or social media to the mix, as well as moving to a dot-com domain (it used to be dot-net). Founder and CEO Rich Skrenta — who describes on his personal blog how this came out of an attempt to “de-suckify” the site — has a blog post at Topix about the changes, and says: “We’re now inviting members from our hyperlocal communities to take over the controls and help us edit the news.” (…)

Skrenta says that Topix is getting about 37,000 posts a day, and the site was looking for a way of featuring the top 1 to 5 per cent of those contributions that actually add something to the story. Now, anyone can submit a story, or facts about a story, or an opinion, or cellphone photos, and they will be handled by what amounts to an editor. (…)

At the same time, my friend Philippe Martin sends me this news about TF1 (one of the top TV networks in France). On their 1pm newscast, they will ask viewers to send them local videos using the Wat.tv site (also owned by TF1), which might afterward appear on TV.

What it means: newspapers and TV news organizations are starting to clue in on the importance of hyperlocal news and citizen journalism. It is a key success factor for them in the future.

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