Local Media Consortium Releases Member Survey of COVID-19 Impact on Local Newspapers


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The Local Media Consortium today released the results of an FTI Consulting survey of COVID-19’s effect on local newspapers, which found that the US newspaper industry continues to face the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant impacts in print advertising revenues.

The survey polled LMC members on how their revenue, advertising and subscriptions have been affected due to the pandemic, as well as what they forecast for the remainder of Q3 and Q4.

The results showed three key themes: print ROP advertising and free-standing inserts (FSI) preprints trends continue their downward trajectory; digital advertising appears to be rebounding; and digital subscriptions are growing rapidly. More specifically, the report found:

  • Publishers on average expect to stem total revenue declines in Q3 and Q4 with most believing that 15% year-over-year top line revenue loss is possible by Q4 2020.
  • Both print and digital advertising have been significantly impacted by COVID-19; however, publishers are still expecting significant recovery in the second half of the year.
  • The COVID-19 bump for digital subscriptions is expected to subside, whereas most publishers seem to have been minimally impacted from a print circulation standpoint.
  • On average publishers expect to take out approximately 17% of costs in Q2 and Q3 2020, with some costs returning in Q4 as revenue returns.
  • Publishers have taken the most cost out of advertising [commissions], but also made reductions in newsroom costs to mitigate the declining advertising revenues.

“Like many industries, local media has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, seeing steep declines in advertising revenue, which have resulted in the closure of more than 50 newsrooms according to Poynter,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. “We are encouraged that the FTI survey shows many publishers expect advertising revenue declines to stabilize in the second half of the year and circulation numbers are forecasted to remain strong. As the coronavirus continues to make an impact, the LMC is even more committed to supporting its local media members through cost-saving and revenue generating partnerships and strategic initiatives like the Local News Advertising Inclusion ListThe MatchupThe Branded Content Project and others.”

FTI Consulting conducted the survey during the first two weeks of July, surveying LMC newspaper media members. The survey results were close to the forecast FTI developed in April and June for US newspapers through 2021.

About The Local Media Consortium

The Local Media Consortium delivers economic value through strategic partnerships on behalf of 90 local media companies across the United StatesCanada and Puerto Rico, and includes more than 4,000 newspaper, radio, TV and online only news outlets. By harnessing the combined volume and scale of its members, the LMC reduces costs and increases revenue with technology and service providers like Google, Facebook, Monster and others. The aggregated LMC audience footprint spans 200 million monthly unique visitors and its member companies serve more than 25 billion monthly ad impressions. More information is available at http://www.localmediaconsortium.com/.

About FTI Consulting

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes: financial, legal, operational, political & regulatory, reputational and transactional. With more than 5,800 employees located in 27 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges and make the most of opportunities. The Company generated $2.35 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2019. FTI’s Publishing + Digital Media practice partners with the media industry around business transformation.  For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com and connect with us on Twitter (@FTIConsulting)Facebook and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:

Kristin Brocoff, 949-400-4899

Christina Gillham

SOURCE Local Media Consortium

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