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Asociación Técnica de Diarios Latinoamericanos
Boletín Semanal agosto 4, 2019

La Reunión y el Seminario ATDL 2019, se realizará en Buenos Aires, Argentina, los días 14, 15 y 16 de agosto de este año.

La ATDL 2019 tendrá los auspicios de las empresas editoras de los diarios Clarín y La Nación.

El evento se desarrollará en el hotel Panamericano, Carlos Pellegrini 551. Teléfono +54 11 4348 5000.

La ATDL ha establecido con el hotel Panamericano una serie de acuerdos muy convenientes en tarifas y servicios, tanto para los días de la ATDL 2019, como para días anteriores o posteriores al evento, de forma de favorecer a los participantes que se interesen en conocer Buenos Aires.

Para las reservas en el Hotel Panamericano, por favor, dirigirse a

 https://reservations.travelclick.com/6059?&rooms=1&identifier=ATDL

Para consultas adicionales: Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.

El Hotel Panamericano se ubica en la calle Carlos Pellegrini, en la Avenida 9 de Julio, frente al obelisco y al teatro Colon.

En nuestra web; www.ATDL.org se puede ver un interesante video de Buenos Aires.

El diario autogestivo Tiempo Argentino y la Asociación Reporteros sin Fronteras realizaron un monitoreo de la propiedad de los medios de comunicación en Argentina que arrojó resultados interesantes para analizar el consumo de medios y noticias: mientras que el 95% de la población mira televisión y un 70% escucha radio, el 57% lee diarios asiduamente, ya sea en su versión en papel o digital.

Aunque la televisión sea el medio preferido a la hora de informarse para la mayoría de los argentinos y a pesar de que la venta de diarios ha caído vertiginosamente (de un millón de ejemplares diarios que se vendían en 2012, hoy apenas alcanza los 700 mil), el poder de imposición de agenda sigue siendo reinado exclusivo del diario en papel. En el rubro, Clarín lidera las ventas con 206 mil ejemplares diarios, seguido por el periódico La Nación, con 103 mil, y el Diario Popular en tercer lugar con 56 mil.

En cuanto al acceso a internet, Argentina es el país con uno de los índices más altos de la región: de los casi 45 millones de habitantes, el 93% es usuario activo en la red y el 86% se conecta a través de celulares. Las información, entonces, circula a través de smartphones: los sitios de noticias figuran entre los más visitados por los argentinos, detrás de Google y redes sociales como Facebook y YouTube.

Infobae, el más visitado

El diario on line Infobae, propiedad del empresario periodístico Daniel Hadad, es el portal de noticias más visitado seguido por clarin.com y lanacion.com.ar. Infobae escaló al primer puesto en el último año, un dato no menor si se tiene en cuenta de que se trata del único medio de esa terna que no posee versión impresa del periódico ni se dedica a ninguna otra actividad. Además, a diferencia de sus principales competidores, Infobae no cobra suscripciones (lo que implica un acceso irrestricto a sus contenidos): sus cuentas cierran gracias a la publicidad privada y a la pauta oficial del Gobierno. Un modelo de negocios mirado con recelo por la competencia.

El análisis de los datos obtenidos en el exhaustivo trabajo de investigación arroja un resultado inequívoco: cuatro de los seis principales sitios informativos con más visitas son medios del Grupo Clarín: Clarín.com, TN.com.ar (del canal de cable Todo Noticias), Cien radios (red de radios on line) y La Voz del Interior (diario de la provincia de Córdoba).

El Grupo Clarín es la empresa de telecomunicaciones más importante de Argentina, eso no es novedad: además de ser propietario del diario más vendido, las radios del grupo (FM 100 y Radio Mitre) son líderes en audiencia y El Trece, su canal de televisión abierta, está segundo en el rating. Posee dos de los diarios más importantes de las provincias de Córdoba y Mendoza (La voz del interior y Los Andes, respectivamente) y desde la modificación de la Ley de Servicios Audiovisuales por decreto presidencial de Mauricio Macri en 2015 – una de sus primeras medidas en el gobierno-, el Grupo Clarín es el accionista mayoritario de la empresa de telecomunicaciones Telecom y del principal cableoperador del país, Cablevisión.

De esta manera, una persona que mientras desayuna navega en su celular por las noticias, escucha radio en el trayecto al trabajo, eventualmente hojea un periódico impreso en el almuerzo y a la noche pasa un par de horas mirando televisión, ha recibido un 25% de información producida por un mismo grupo. Aquí es donde puede evaluarse, en toda su magnitud, el alcance de la concentración mediática; uno de los males que aquejan a la región.

Group revenues grew organically by 3.2 percent in the first quarter / Adjusted EBITDA increased organically by 4.1 percent / Digital activities further increased their share of revenues and adjusted EBITDA / Focused growth investment in Classifieds Media and News Media / Full-year forecast adjusted due to the sale of @Leisure

Axel Springer recorded further strong growth in its digital offerings in the first quarter of 2019. Their revenues grew organically by 8.9 percent compared to the prior-year quarter. Digital activities increased their share of reported group revenues to 73.8 percent. They also generated 86.6 percent of the adjusted Group EBITDA. Group revenues and adjusted Group EBITDA increased after adjustment for consolidation and currency effects. As expected, the reported key figures were influenced by significant consolidation effects.

At EUR 771.8 million, Group revenues were at the prior-year level (PY: EUR 773.5 million). Adjusted for consolidation and currency effects, revenues increased by 3.2 percent. During the reporting period, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), adjusted for non-recurring effects, declined slightly by 2.5 percent to EUR 167.0 million (PY: EUR 171.2 million). Organically, on the other hand, they grew by 4.1 percent. The EBITDA margin decreased slightly from 22.1 percent to 21.6 percent. Adjusted EBIT declined by 6.9 percent to EUR 113.4 million (PY: EUR 121.8 million). Organically, it increased by 2.5 percent.

Dr. Mathias Döpfner, Chief Executive Officer Axel Springer SE: “The first-quarter results show that digital classifieds and digital journalism are delivering significant growth for Axel Springer. We will invest more heavily in the potential of growth companies in these areas in the future compared to previous years.”

In the first quarter of 2019, Axel Springer invested in accelerated growth and the further strengthening of its News and Classifieds Media businesses. The aim is to increase the company’s value and performance in the medium to long term so that its dynamic progress can continue in the future. Thus, for example, the Classifieds Media segment was expanded through two strategic acquisitions of job portals. At the beginning of the year, StepStone took over Studydrive, the leading digital platform for students in Europe. This was followed in March by the acquisition of PersonalMarkt Services GmbH (PMSG), one of Germany’s largest compensation analysts. PMSG offers both employees and employers detailed salary comparisons and job offers on various online platforms, such as Gehalt.de.

Axel Springer expanded the News Media segment with the acquisition of paid content specialist CeleraOne. This technology service provider specializes in real-time processing of large data volumes and has been used by Axel Springer for several years in the paid content offerings of WELT and BILD. This acquisition strengthens the company’s digital journalism offerings, its technological and data expertise and its growth business in digital payment models.

The average number of employees at Axel Springer declined slightly in the first quarter by 0.5 percent to 16,282 (PY: 16,365).

Full-year forecast adjusted due to sale of @Leisure

At the beginning of May, Axel Springer announced the sale of its 51 percent majority stake in the @Leisure Group. Assuming that the transaction is completed as expected at the beginning of June 2019, this will result in adjustments to the Group forecast. On completion, Axel Springer expects group revenues for the 2019 financial year to remain at the previous year’s level, having previously anticipated an increase in the low single-digit percentage range. Organically, the Group continues to expect growth in the low to mid-single-digit percentage range.

For the adjusted EBITDA, Axel Springer continues to expect a figure at the prior-year level. Organic growth of the adjusted EBITDA should remain in the low to mid-single-digit percentage range.

When the transaction is completed, the Group expects adjusted EBIT to decline to the low to mid-single-digit percentage range due to increased amortization, having previously forecast a decline in the low single-digit percentage range. Organically, growth in the low single-digit percentage range is still expected.

Adjusted earnings per share will show a decline in the low single-digit percentage range when the transaction is completed, a figure between the previous year’s level and a decline in the low single-digit percentage range having previously been forecast. In organic terms, a rise in the single-digit percentage range is expected.

Net income and earnings per share influenced by non-recurring effects

The group net income adjusted for non-recurring effects and amortization from purchase price allocations declined by 7.2 percent in the reporting period to EUR 75.1 million (PY: EUR 80.9 million). The adjusted earnings per share decreased from EUR 0.63 to EUR 0.57 due to increased interests by other shareholders. However organically, the adjusted earnings per share rose by 1.7 percent. The unadjusted group net income decreased to EUR 55.4 million (PY: EUR 84.7 million). The non-recurring effects comprised equity valuation effects and effects related to the long-term share-based incentive programs. The prior-year figures also included a significant one-time effect from the transfer of the Axel Springer high-rise in Berlin to the Axel Springer Pensionstreuhandverein. At EUR 0.41, unadjusted earnings per share were therefore down on the previous year’s figure of EUR 0.69.

Funding base remains strong

Free cash flow in the first quarter of 2019, excluding the effects of real estate transactions at the company locations, amounted to EUR 89.8 million after EUR 127.4 million in the previous year. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, Axel Springer’s net debt decreased slightly to EUR 1,240.1 million (December 31, 2018: EUR 1,249.2 million).

Of the existing long-term credit lines of EUR 1,500.0 million, EUR 474.0 million was utilized by the end of March 2019 (December 31, 2018: EUR 453.0 million). At the end of the first quarter, the equity ratio stood at 45.3 percent.

Classifieds Media continues to drive growth

During the first quarter, the Classifieds Media segment increased revenues by 8.5 percent to EUR 314.8 million (PY: EUR 290.2 million). The growth was driven both by an operational improvement, particularly in Job Classifieds, and by consolidation effects from the inclusion of Logic-Immo and Universum. On the other hand, the sale of casamundo in the field of Generalist/Other in October 2018 had a counteracting effect. Organically, i.e. excluding consolidation and currency effects, the segment’s revenues increased by 7.3 percent.

Despite negative consolidation effects, the adjusted EBITDA of Classifieds Media improved slightly by 0.5 percent to EUR 113.2 million (PY: EUR 112.6 million). Organically, the increase amounted to 6.2 percent. The segment’s good operating performance was offset by seasonal effects at Universum and start-up losses on the hybrid brokerage activities. Due to selective capital expenditures in marketing, product and technology in both the Jobs and Real Estate subsegments, the EBITDA margin was 36.0 percent (PY: 38.8 percent). The adjusted segment EBIT decreased in the first quarter by 3.5 percent to EUR 91.0 million (PY: EUR 94.3 million), but organically it increased by 3.8 percent.

In the News Media segment, BILD digital performed strongly at the national level, as did the brands INSIDER Inc., UPDAY and eMarketer internationally. The digital offerings’ share of segment revenues rose to 41.7 percent (PY: 36.5 percent). Despite the positive development of digital news offerings, at EUR 341.2 million the segment’s revenues were 2.9 percent down on the previous year’s figure (PY: EUR 351.5 million). Organically, the segment’s revenues declined by 1.6 percent.

At EUR 46.7 million, the adjusted segment EBITDA was 5.4 percent down on the prior-year quarter (PY: EUR 49.4 million). Organically, it declined by 2.3 percent. The EBITDA margin contracted slightly from 14.1 percent to 13.7 percent. Adjusted EBIT declined to EUR 30.0 million (PY: EUR 33.1 million). Organically it also decreased by 5.2 percent.

In the first quarter of 2019, the Marketing Media segment recorded a consolidation-related decline in revenues of 11.6 percent to EUR 104.4 million due to the sale of aufeminin in the previous year (PY: EUR 118.1 million). Organically, on the other hand, the segment’s revenues increased strongly by 11.9 percent.

Adjusted EBITDA increased by 7.1 percent to EUR 25.2 million (PY: EUR 23.6 million). Excluding consolidation and currency effects, adjusted EBITDA grew by 23.5 percent. The segment’s EBITDA margin increased to 24.2 percent (PY: 19.9 percent). The idealo Group in particular made a very favorable start to the current year, contributing significantly to the positive earnings performance. The adjusted EBIT grew by 9.4 percent from EUR 17.6 million to EUR 19.2 million. Organically it rose by a substantial 33.0 percent.

Today’s news publishers are facing difficult situations, among them selecting the best membership model suited for their consumers. One anticipated model that made its appearance earlier this year was Apple News+, the successor to Texture, which the company bought out last year and plans to close at the end of this month. The platform includes more than 300 magazines, a handful of digital natives, but only three newspapers: the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Toronto Star.

Although the Apple bundle might be what consumers are looking for, news publishers are extremely wary of joining.

Damon Kiesow

Damon Kiesow, Knight Chair in digital editing and producing at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, agrees that news publishers should be wary. “If you look at the (Washington) Post, the (New York) Times and others, they’re not in, and they’re very vocal about why they’re not in. It’s disintermediating them even further from their audiences. It’s a loss of control of user experience. It’s monetizing potentially the rate they can get from direct subscriptions.”

In a note to employees, Matt Murray, WSJ editor-in-chief, offered insight to the newspaper’s choice in joining Apple News+. “The Apple venture is about more people seeing and paying for our journalism,” he explained. This is a tempting argument for publishers as Apple currently dominates the smartphone market at 63 percent, according to the “Mobile Web Intelligence Report” by Device Atlas.

Television, movies and music have all recently morphed from their prior forms into these bundle subscriptions that have performed exceptionally well. Netflix closed 2018 with a whopping 139 million worldwide subscribers, according to CNN. Is it time for the news industry to fit into such an in-demand structure?

Structuring the Right Model

Lucky for news publishers there is so much data available to aid in choosing the right membership model; at the same time, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with case studies and vendor phone calls. Damian Radcliffe, the Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism as well as a professor of practice at the University of Oregon, reminds us that in the midst of scouring data to not forget about our relationship with existing loyal consumers.

“So often it feels that the emphasis is on growing subscribers and new ways of bringing people in,” Radcliffe said. “We need to have more of a conversation about super serving existing subscribers and be prepared to provide other mechanisms to engage with them.”

In 2012, the Buffalo News in New York jumped on the paywall bandwagon, so they choose a vendor, put up a paywall and did what every news organization does—hope for growth.

“We hit roughly 2,500 digital subscribers, but then we plateaued and we never were able to grow beyond that,” David Adkins, vice president of technology, said. “It didn’t matter what we did about content choices or anything.”

David Adkins

While the vendor they chose had its perks, the paper was not blind to the holes in the paywall. Clearing cookies, incognito or private browsing, changing devices, viewing cached copies of pages on Google and utilizing ad technology are all ways consumers can sneak around a paywall—so Buffalo News set out to fix these issues by creating their own product.

In a nutshell, Buffalo News decided to make use of IP addresses (significantly harder for the user to change) to send the information back to their server and count the consumers articles there, closing nearly every hole and compelling users to subscribe.

“Building a paywall like this was really hard,” Adkins admitted. “We had three developers that worked on the software and they all had to go to school to learn some of the more advance technologies that exist today because we had to make sure this thing was fast.”

Adkins also said they found a few other resources to help guide them during the process of building the software, such as paywall vendors and reading materials. All-in-all, the Buffalo News spent a year building and developing their product before launching in it January 2017.

With 2,700 digital subscribers, the paper implemented a paymeter of 10 free articles a month and placed their premium content behind a hard paywall. Two years later, they’re at 9,000 digital subscribers and continue to see growth.

Having seen great results, the Buffalo News began actively marketing their product to other publishers last May, giving them the opportunity to control and build their own paywall rules. The first client goes live with their paywall this month.

For other publishers, such as the Houston (Mo.) Herald, a vendor’s product could work. Utilizing Pelco, a two-year old company, to create and implement a paywall, the Herald saw a 30 percent increase in subscriptions in just a month.

Andrew Morris

Andrew Morris, an account executive for Pelcro, explained that the company’s goal is to “provide publishers with all the tools they needed to create extreme flexibility, to create memberships that are on a recurring basis and auto renewal—to be able to do things like understand their data and create A/B tests to target based on the user, and of course make it as easy as possible for users to sign up.”

Morris said Pelcro is straightforward while also working closely with their clients to ensure a graceful transition and to gain feedback on their product. Publishers with no model in place can have a paywall up and running within a few hours and those with a model in place take about a week or two to integrate all files with Pelcro.

The Herald is one of those publishers that saw an opportunity to grow with Pelcro, particularly their Launchpad Process. This process takes about three months to execute, beginning with measuring and understanding the client’s current user experience. The next step is planning and configuring a paywall for the client and finally launching and testing though the A/B approach.

As a result, the Herald saw that increase in subscriptions, as well as a 237 percent increase in conversation rates and 62 percent of their subscriptions set to auto-renew.

Merging the subscription bundle and micropayment idea to create a new concept is a company called Agate, a platform that uses an online wallet system.

Dominic Young

“It’s very difficult to sell a single newspaper subscription at scale because most people actually consume lots of different media brands,” Dominic Young, Agate CEO, said. “But they won’t have multiple subscriptions to similar brands.”

Publishers working with Agate set a price for how much an individual article will cost (all must be the same price) and the maximum price, which is the number a consumer must hit before the publisher stops charging. For example, if a newspaper’s price for a weekly subscription is $1.20, once the consumer buys enough articles to equal $1.20, they will not be charged for the rest of the week.

Young believes this process brings back the option to have one subscription to your favorite newspaper, but also pick up a similar brand here and there as well as create the option to explore.

Even though Agate just launched last year, Young said they have been able to help one publisher covert more than 10 percent of their usual website visitors to wallet holders.

The “Newsstand” Model

Before the days of the internet and smartphone, the newsstand paper was your window into the world, and perhaps more importantly, your community. But when the newsstand paper went away, so did an important piece of the revenue puzzle, said Hal Bailey, chief revenue officer for LaterPay, a subscription management company.

Hal Bailey

“Now, publications primarily skipped to the model of either you get a couple of articles for free each month or you have to pay about $10 a month to subscribe,” Bailey said. “There’s very little of anything in-between, and we see the digital single copy as a very easy way to engage users and to get them to see everything that a publication has to offer.”

Bailey spoke to E&P about their new initiative inspired by the newsstand paper. Called the digital single copy, it is essentially a 24-hour pass to a publication’s entire website or app.

Bailey believes other micropayments, such as selling single articles, are valuable options, but the digital single copy is both valuable for the consumer and the publisher. It can remove complicated issues from the newsroom like pricing on single articles or which will be sold individually verses which will not and the fear that consumers won’t go through the hassle of creating an account for one article.

Kiesow seems to be in agreement with the latter statement—the problem with any type of micropayment process has been the “friction in getting that first dollar.”

However, if you let readers in for 24 hours and allow them to pay later (when their consumed content reaches $5) and they see a list of what they have read when they register and pay, the value is now tangible while also removing the friction that Kiesow refers to.

Despite being a relatively new solution, LaterPay’s partners are already seeing success with the digital single copy. Publishers are seeing conversion rates (reaching the $5 threshold) of 10 to 20 percent on average. This revenue is both incremental and supplemental to subscription income as, LaterPay says, it comes from the approximate 80 percent of readers who were unlikely to subscribe to begin with.

Made to Order

While Apple was busy building Apple News+, McClatchy released a standalone offer for sports. The Sports Pass was released last fall as a niche vertical offering readers the opportunity to pay for just the sports section. The pass was released in 10 markets: Miami, Fla., Kansas City, Mo., Columbia, S.C., Lexington, Ky., Raleigh, N.C., Charlotte, N.C., Boise, Idaho, Tacoma, Wash., Ft. Worth, Texas and Sacramento, Calif.

According to Leanne Gemma, director of product for McClatchy, the company has known for years that their online sports readers are highly engaged and loyal. These readers make up less than 20 percent of their audience, but consume more than 50 percent of their page story views and are three times more likely to return than non-sports readers.

Leanne Gemma

“This is a very different approach than what McClatchy has had before. It has always been one size fits all,” Gemma said. But by creating the Sports Pass, McClatchy is attempting to “create experiences and products that really meet people where they are and give them the right experience, pricing and product at the right time.”

This customized initiative is a first for McClatchy, but not for the news industry.

“The New York Times bet more than a year ago that it could convince an audience of foodies to pay for a standalone section devoted to all things cooking,” CNN’s Jill Disis wrote last November, just months after McClatchy’s Sports Pass was released. According to her report, the Times then had 120,000 subscribers for the cooking standalone, which costs $5 a month and is not included in the regular digital subscription.

In addition, the Times offers its crossword as a standalone at $6.95 a month or $39.95 if paid for annually. The crossword is also not included in a regular digital subscription, however, it is offered to a subscriber at 81 cents a week if the user pays monthly or 38 cents a week if paid annually. Last June, Poynter reported that the crossword had reached 400,000 subscribers.

For McClatchy, this initiative has also paid off; in some markets, the Sports Pass has doubled McClatchy’s subscription conversions for the week and has not showed any signs of cannibalization of their regular subscription sales.

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