Media Briefing: What four publishers’ newest earnings stories dispute about the media industry’s recovery


This week’s Media Briefing seems at at the newest spherical of earnings stories from publishers to ogle what they mark about the media industry’s means to rebound to pre-pandemic ranges.

Highway to recovery

Publishers’ newest quarterly earnings support to cowl to what extent the industry has recovered from the pandemic’s influence on their corporations.

A year after the industrial bottom of the pandemic, some publishers maintain rebounded to the level of being in stronger form than they were pre-pandemic, basically basically based totally on the most newest earnings stories released by News Corp., Gannett, Meredith and The New York Cases. 

The key hits:

  • Outmoded print publishers persevered their transition to running digital-led corporations.
  • Digital ad earnings and digital subscriptions, specifically, maintain picked up to surpass pre-pandemic ranges.
  • Some publishers observed advertising earnings rebound stronger than subscription earnings; others observed the alternative.

Dow Jones

Dow Jones’ transition into changing into a basically digital author has resulted in the News Corp. division securing its largest profit “since its acquisition in 2007,” in accordance with the father or mother company’s newest earnings free up. The division, which is dwelling to The Wall Avenue Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s, recorded $69 million in profit — earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation and amortization, in monetary jargon — compared with $60 million in 2020 and $53 million in 2019.

Dow Jones observed its earnings for the quarter assemble bigger by 18% and by 13% compared with the an analogous length in 2019 to prevail in $449 million. Dow Jones’ digital industry also grew to notify a shimmering bigger majority fragment of its total industry, accounting for 72% of earnings within the quarter, up from 71% in 2020 and 63% in 2019.

News Corp. doesn’t atomize out raw earnings figures for Dow Jones’ subscription and advertising corporations. The corporate did teach that digital circulation earnings represented 65% of complete circulation earnings for the quarter, up from 61% in 2020, and that digital advertising earnings represented 56% of complete advertising earnings, up from 54% in 2020.

Dow Jones’ subscriber heinous reached 4.5 million subscriptions in Q2 2021, up 19% over Q2 2020 and 36% over Q2 2019. While News Corp. didn’t atomize out digital-only subscriptions across the division, it did voice that The Wall Avenue Journal had more than 2.7 million digital-only subscribers within the quarter and that these subscribers accounted for 79% of the newspaper’s complete subscriptions.


Juxtaposing Gannett’s industry in 2021 to what it was in 2019 is a small bit hard. It’s literally a obvious company, having been obtained by New Media Investment Neighborhood in November 2019. In comparison with 2019, Gannett’s total, advertising and circulation revenues all roughly doubled. Nonetheless again, it’s successfully twice the company in 2021. 

Fortunately, the corporations’ pre-merger quarterly filings are silent available. 

Including the 2 collectively paints a less-than-rosy describe, with the revenues wanting their 2019 mixed marks across the board. The corporate’s total earnings of $804.3 million was 24% timid of the mixed 2019 figure. Meanwhile, circulation earnings was down by 22% versus 2019 at $310.3 million, and advertising earnings was down by 27% versus 2019 at $420.1 million.

Presumably now not surprisingly, the ad earnings shortfall falls on the print side. Gannett’s $200.9 million in print ad earnings in Q2 2021 was 41% decrease than the mixed quantity in Q2 2019. In distinction, the company’s $219.2 million in digital ad earnings in Q2 2021 was 48% better than the mixed Q2 2019 quantity.


Meredith fell wanting returning to its pre-pandemic earnings ranges. Given the company is promoting off its local media industry, we’ll focal level on Meredith’s nationwide media industry, which houses its magazines and digital publications. 

Meredith’s total nationwide media earnings improved over 2020 by 16% to prevail in $514.9 million but was timid of 2019’s $587.5 million ticket.

The legend was an analogous for the journal division’s advertising earnings, which topped $235.5 million to be 26% better than the 2020 quantity but was 19% timid of the 2019 quantity. Additionally, after digital ad earnings overtook print ad earnings for the first time within the final quarter of 2020, the pattern persevered within the most newest length. At $123.1 million, the nationwide media division’s digital ad earnings was 22% better than its print ad earnings. The amount also almost about doubled its 2020 figure and was 24% better than the 2019 figure.

In comparison with the division’s subscription industry, although, the above is winning legend. The corporate’s $150.1 million in subscription earnings for its nationwide media division unquestionably slipped below now not only the 2019 figure (by 16%) but additionally the 2020 figure (albeit only by 0.5%).

To be glowing, Meredith has been promoting off a few of its magazines in newest years, alongside side Trudge + Leisure in 2021, and the company is making an strive and pivot from promoting subscriptions by intermediaries to promoting them all of the sudden to folks, which it claims to be more winning. All the contrivance by the company’s earnings name on Aug. 12, CFO Jason Frierott acknowledged the company’s subscriber heinous has remained stable at 36 million subscriptions, and CEO Tom Harty acknowledged renewal rates for say-to-author subscribers elevated by 5% total and by 47% specifically for keep original subscribers.

The New York Cases

The New York Cases’ subscription industry is basically to blame for its jump-relief. Despite the newspaper author’s subscription earnings having unquestionably grown by 8% year over year within the second quarter of 2020 — making for a tougher comparability — it grew again in Q2 2021 and by a shimmering bigger margin, up 16% year over year to $339.2 million.

The majority of the Cases’ 7.9 million subscribers — 90% unquestionably — are digital-only clients. Nonetheless the author is seeing its digital-only subscriber increase starting up up to sluggish. After rising by 50% between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020, the company’s total digital-only subscriber increase slowed to 26% year over year in Q2 2021. The deceleration applied to every its recordsdata product subscription as properly as its “other product” subscriptions, which encompass subscriptions to NYT Cooking. While the latter represented a decrease share of subscribers and earnings — 23% of complete subscribers and 6% of complete subscription earnings — its increase on every counts outpaced the the leisure of the Cases’ subscription industry.

The Cases’ advertising industry stays in recovery mode, although. While ad earnings in Q2 2021 was up 66% over Q2 2020, the $112.8 million quantity was 7% wanting the Q2 2019 quantity. Alternatively, as with Gannett, the Cases’ advertising industry is unquestionably only struggling on the print side. At $41.8 million, the company’s Q2 2021 print ad earnings was 33% decrease than the Q2 2019 ticket. Digital ad earnings, on the alternative hand, was 22% better than Q2 2019 at $71.0 million.

The newspaper author’s total earnings elevated by 23% over 2020 and 14% over 2019 to hit $498.5 million. — Tim Peterson

What we’ve heard

“I enact potentially an additional 20% in web boom traffic in Apple News versus web web boom traffic, and it’s more or less unmonetized. Monetization in Apple News is awful.”

Publishing executive

The Digiday Crossword

Crosswords are the original sizzling part for subscription publishers, so why now not add one to the Media Briefing? This one relies on a small bit of industry data, but now not too necessary. It is miles likely to be solved online right here, or if you’re aged-school, you would possibly well well well possibly possibly additionally print it out.

Whenever you wish hints (or maintain complaints), tweet them to @maxwillens. This was all his doing.

The eight starred clues every maintain one tile that displays a trade within the roughly data that publishers and marketers will quickly must count on.


1 – Tech that enables Facebook and Uber to consult with one but any other, e.g.; abbr.

4 – *How the 1% travels

10 – *Ryan Gosling dwelling flick

14- Espresso receptacle

15 – Oft-covered ’60s single “_____ Color of Pale”

16 – Glass share

17 – Profs’ assts.

18 – Snake sounds

19 – Lo cal

20 – Cable TV with out the cable, abbr.

21 – Dawdle in

22 – Political conspiracy theory Q____

23 – Consumed

25 – Snake

27 – Wrestler John

28 – OPEC’s second most populous African teach

31 – Caviar, e.g.

33 – Farm storage construction

34 – Threw underhand

38 – Slangy term for web boom traffic or influence reselling

41 – Metric at the heart of podcast advertising

42 – Whispered about, as data

43 – Long-running Guy Fieri cowl, to its fans

44 – Serial killer Son of ____

45 – Tech company that can well well possibly discontinue up killing FedEx and Barnes & Noble

46 – Wading bird

47 – Rand who wrote about self-reliance (and relied on authorities advantages)

48 – Curvy winter route

50 – *Bo, or Sunny, or Checkers

53 – “No person ever obtained fired for procuring for ___” — industry proverb

56 – Lennon muse

57 – Broccoli ____

58 – Reup, as a subscription

61 – Advert forex that, over time, only goes in a single direction

64 – Egyptian solar god

65 – “Can’t, too busy”

66 – Blake Griffin jumped over one

67 – “How _____ Your Mother”

68 – Penitent one

69 – Document keep the Intercourse Pistols wrote a song about

70 – Minus, var.

71 – “_______, demand questions later”

72 – How necessary money a web pages brings in, for transient


1 – 2nd-largest ad class, casually

2 – A fool, across the pond

3 – The one make a choice Facebook ever made

4 – *Unwelcome date participant

5 – Where one might well well seize a laborious lesson

6 – Dawdle alongside with the circulation

7 – Misplaced

8 – Visionaries

9 – Mountainous males (and girls) on campus, abbr.

10 – *It always nets a bronze

11 – Northernmost jap teach within the U.S.

12 – Church of Devil founder LaVey

13 – Indian actress Gupta

24 – 2,000 pounds

26 – Primps

28 – The basics, in transient

29 – Well-known California wine region

30 – Ancient coworkers, or ancient students

32 – Now not even

35 – Grandma, am Graz

36 – Nickname for exec who built Facebook’s mobile ad product

37 – Dude’s term of contend with

38 – Courageous browser’s defining goal

39 – Onetime Spotify competitor built by Skype execs

40 – Frequent kink acronym

42 – Biopic that earned Jamie Foxx an Oscar

46 – Knighted actor McKellen

47 – Bygone Shock cowl “_____ of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

49 – *Where headlines generally appear on CNN, or MSNBC

50 – *A in point of fact impolite blueprint

51 – High-kicking Belgian Jean Claude Van _____

52 – Double reeds

54 – Liquid half of soup

55 – Harassment hashtag that grew to was a transitive verb

59 – Boy, en Barcelona

60 – Enhanced Mitigation Abilities Toolkit, for transient

62 – What Xzibit once did to 1’s gallop

63 – Damage

65 – Hennessey spokesrapper

Numbers to grab

62%:  Percentage of publishing execs who acknowledged their corporations generate some earnings from commerce, in accordance with respondents to a newest Digiday+ Analysis glance.

$1 billion:  How necessary money Politico is reportedly in search of Axel Springer to pay to assemble the political recordsdata outlet.

$7.5 billion:  How necessary money proprietor Automattic is price.

$650 million:  How necessary money Forbes is reportedly price because the industry recordsdata outlet seems to transfer public by technique of SPAC IPO.

$1 billion:  How necessary money the rebranded Ziff Davis has secured to assemble more media properties.

3 questions with 6AM City’s Ryan Heafy

Native newsletter author 6AM City has expanded its industry in a alternative of the way over the last six months: increasing its workers from 45 to 85, tripling the quantity of markets it publishes in from eight to 24 and signing up almost about double the alternative of subscribers it had at the discontinue of ultimate year (275,000), bringing the total to 500,000.

The expansion trajectory doesn’t stop there for the five-year-aged media company. 6AM City is pacing to manufacture $5 million in complete earnings this year, doubling its earnings from 2020. And in accordance with 6AM City COO Ryan Heafy, the notion is to partly invest that into a brand original industry opportunity — an e-commerce marketplace for local corporations.

The interview has been edited for dimension and clarity. — Kayleigh Barber

How enact you envision commerce within your industry model? With a unquestionably local focal level to your boom material, are you imagining that you just would possibly well well well work with local retail outlets in an affiliate means?

We’re going to be populating and launching an e-commerce store in [the third quarter] that spans all of our varied cities with local merchandise. [We are] striking [a] main effort in bringing on some additional [staffers] from merchandise and e-commerce backgrounds to support us unquestionably assemble bigger and create out that store tremendously.

We deployed an arena bear pain where we set out a demand creatives in all of our cities and maintain silent hundreds of bear submissions. We are unquestionably shopping the rights to their designs and providing them with royalty [and the designs will be printed on the merchandise sold by the local retailers in the shop]. That is probably going to be local merchandise, designed by local graphic designers who will most definitely be showcased within the store. It’s respect the final “store local.”

How are you going to benefit your readership to store with you?

​​We is also deploying a loyalty-basically basically based mostly membership program [in tandem with] our store as properly linked to a referral and rewards platform [in the fourth quarter]. The intent there might be you see at manufacturers respect Barstool that enact so properly within the commerce dwelling, appealing that’s correct the logo loyalty and passion. [We are] connecting folks with their cities and there’s a main opportunity for us to play [on fostering that local pride] within the commerce dwelling.

Native media has generally been sluggish to adopt affiliate-basically basically based mostly earnings and other commerce corporations. What about your newest industry model makes you’re feeling confident that launching a brand original e-commerce marketplace for local retail outlets and artists will consequence in every manufacturers and clients who are desirous to sell and store by you?

By staying agenda-free and honest, we are in a position to entice, relief, connect with, and develop our advertising relationships in local markets. [Advertisers] perceive it’s a salvage dwelling and they also’re now not going to be subsequent to a bunch of politically divisive boom material [which leads to more eyeballs on the ads]. Our conversion locally delivers a wiser ROI than correct about any other [competitor] product available, so for us, alternative our communities, specifically local and regional advertisers, also ogle us as an financial pattern intention, and sexy manufacturers to be aligned with locally.

Evaluating how our keep operates, and its relevance locally, we’re unquestionably in a position to roughly step out and shine moreover other folks in frail or [local] media areas. Everyone has roughly a obvious viewers and intent and boom material mix with their product, and we’re unquestionably in search of to pressure financial influence locally.

What we’ve covered

What Future plc is unquestionably getting from its Dennis acquisition:

  • Future obtained a portfolio of Dennis-owned manufacturers for £300 million ($416 million), lower than three years after Exponent, Dennis Publishing’s father or mother company, bought Dennis for £167.4 ($231.9 million).
  • The deal shows how a ways more crucial first-gain collectively data is changing into to publishers, while also giving Future viewers fortification in some verticals and a foothold in others.

Be taught more about Future plc right here.

Employees praised for pandemic productiveness count on original pressures to attain to the gap of labor:

  • Media workers and unions are the usage of their distant productiveness to keep at bay against administration’s calls for that workers work from the gap of labor at the least a few days per week.
  • “Firm custom” has been amongst the reasons corporations maintain cited for calling workers relief to the gap of labor.

Be taught more about space of labor return pressures right here.

Digiday’s high traits of 2021 to this level:

  • This week’s Digiday Podcast episode discusses the delta that the media and advertising industries are discovering themselves in.
  • The conversation ranges from corporations’ space of labor-return plans to the teach of publishers’ advertising, subscription and commerce corporations.

Be aware of the newest Digiday Podcast episode right here.

Confessions of a media employee on their expertise returning to the gap of labor:

  • A senior editor at a digital author shared her expertise of going into the gap of labor because it opened this summer in NYC.
  • Now with masks required even at her desk, the editor is discovering there aren’t many reasons to transfer in and is disenchanted by the circumstances.

Be taught more about the media employee’s expertise right here.

Why Relied on Media Manufacturers obtained viral video author Jukin Media:

  • The author of Reader’s Digest determined to come to a decision on Jukin Media in must create an in-dwelling studio.
  • Jukin is a winning company, as is TMB.

Be taught more about Relied on Media Manufacturers right here.

What we’re discovering out

BuzzFeed’s SPAC spat:

BuzzFeed investor NBCUniversal wasn’t psyched about BuzzFeed’s notion to transfer public by technique of SPAC IPO, in accordance with The Wall Avenue Journal. At express was BuzzFeed’s proposed $1.5 billion valuation, which was decrease than the author’s valuation at the time when the Comcast-owned media conglomerate bought its BuzzFeed stake.

Substack’s international issues:

As Substack brings more writers basically basically based mostly exterior the U.S. onto its publishing platform, the company has to figure out be taught how to contend with the issues that expansion introduces, in accordance with Relaxation of World. Among the many issues at hand are what protections Substack would supply to journalists in international locations where journalists are threatened as properly as be taught how to be obvious its product and infrastructure can adapt to nation-particular concerns.

The New York Cases’ union-busting blunder:

A lawyer for The New York Cases by probability sent an email outlining the author’s technique to contend with its tech and product workers’ unionization efforts to the workers’ representatives, in accordance with Day-to-day Beast. The incorrect missive integrated slides that detailed varied ways the Cases might well well possibly successfully undermine and even undo the union.

Amazon’s push into podcasting:

If a rising tide lifts all boats, Amazon’s acquisition of Wondery and deal to distribute a most popular podcast known as “SmartLess” might well well possibly portend a tsunami for the podcast advertising market, in accordance with Bloomberg. Alternatively, as necessary as that is probably going to be a boon to podcast publishers’ corporations, it can well well possibly additionally attain to chunk them, looking on to what extent the e-commerce massive is determined on assuming ad sales rights.

Red Ventures’ affiliate angle:

Digital advertising company Red Ventures has remade itself as a serious media company whose industry is oriented spherical affiliate earnings, in accordance with The New York Cases. The proprietor of CNET, Healthline and other arena of expertise publications seems to be to be a model for publishers with earnings streams predicated on converting their readers into other corporations’ clients.