Video/Newspapers

Calkins Cluster Eyes $.5M in Video Revenue

A year ago, Calkins Media generated zero revenue from online video at its two newspapers in Bucks County, Pa. Today, it is bringing in $40,000 per month and area cable operators are eyeing its two daily newscasts as the nucleus of a potential hyperlocal news channel. “Digital video should be on every publisher’s radar screen,” says Mike Jameson, president and general manager of Calkins Media’s Philadelphia Region. “It’s growing, it’s not hard to get into, and it can be monetized.” A special report from Kathy Haley.  
NetNewsCheck,

HERSHEY, PA. – A year ago, Calkins Media generated zero revenue from online video at its two newspapers in Bucks County, Pa. Today, it is bringing in $40,000 per month and area cable operators are eyeing its two daily newscasts as the nucleus of a potential hyperlocal news channel. 

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“Digital video should be on every publisher’s radar screen,” says Mike Jameson, president and general manager of Calkins Media’s Philadelphia Region. “It’s growing, it’s not hard to get into, and it can be monetized.”

Jameson, who spoke during a Monday panel at the America East Conference in Hershey, Pa., oversees The Bucks County Courier Times, The Intelligencer and The Burlington County Times, a trio of papers covering neighboring areas on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border and reaching a combined Sunday circulation of 100,000.

Spurred by forecasts that advertisers will be spending $300 million on digital video advertising in the Philadelphia DMA in 2018, and intrigued by the amount of political advertising revenue being generated by sister TV stations in Florida, the Calkins cluster decided to give video a try.

“We had a lot of people in the newsroom who are talented,” Jameson says. A former photo editor became the video editor, a reporter morphed into a videographer and another editorial staffer, Rachel Canelli, now anchors a daily newscast for each of the Bucks County papers.

Jameson brought in a former TV anchor from Boston to train the cluster’s writers to shoot video on their iPhones and the company invested $17,000 in a Newtek Tricaster editing station. It also picked up a pair of JVC 100 camcorders and some Panasonic 700 cameras that shoot both stills and video.

Brand Connections

The papers are producing 10-12 new videos per day, or about 60 per week, Jameson said.

Canelli delivers a seven-to-10-minute newscast daily for each of the Bucks County papers, standing in front of a Courier Times logo in the paper’s newsroom for one and in front of a green screen with an Intelligencer logo projected on it for the other.

A news ticker crawls across the bottom of the screen during each newscast and Canelli directs viewers to get more on each story on the papers’ websites.

The cluster will soon add a daily newscast for the Burlington County Times.  

Calkins sells sponsorships that include a 15-second pre-roll commercial and a “sponsored by” mention as the newscast begins. Sponsors also get to ride along on all the promotion the papers do to get online users to watch the newscasts. The total package costs $7,500 to $10,000 per month for a six-month commitment.

For the investment, each sponsor gets a 20% share of voice in all videos in a month, Jameson says. “We’re selling SOV because we don’t have enough CPMs to sell.” The two papers together are generating a combined 10,000-12,000 video views per week.

The company has been pitching sponsorships to newspaper advertisers who are already also advertising on local TV, but are likely paying for more reach than they need. 

“If you are an advertiser in Doylestown and you want to buy network TV, you have to buy the whole pie,” Jameson says. “This is a good opportunity for car dealers who don’t have many locations.”

Area cable operators, faced with mounting competition from Netflix and other online providers, are considering running the Calkins news video on a channel or on video on demand, Jameson says. “They see hyperlocal news as a possibility for retaining subscribers.”

 

 

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Comments (3) -

Ron Stitt Nickname posted over 2 years ago
Kudos to them - they're great salespeople. They're getting $10k/month for 10,000 impressions (12k/wk x 4 x 20% SOV). That's a CPM of $1,000!
palmer brown posted over 2 years ago
The CPM jumped out at me as well. But they also mention that they are giving them additional impressions through promotional advertising which is likely the motivation of the advertisers/buyers. The article should probably be titled, Calkins leverages video to add new digital dollars. I am confident that if you remove the promo ads the advertisers go bye-bye - otherwise they are dealing with some really stupid advertisers. They do have some leverage being in the Philly DMA where broadcast TV is expensive given its reach and the advertisers would be paying for a lot of waste which was stated in the article. This is where Comcast Spotlight will step in and take those dollars once they learn what the advertisers are paying. They could buy local spot cable for that investment and get 10-20x local reach plus effective frequency. In the end, as a standalone revenue stream it is not sustainable at those rates. Word to the newspaper herd that chases every shiny thing like this - if you are in a size 30 DMA and smaller you CANNOT compete in the publisher owned digital video space. The incumbent broadcasters already have an online video audience and most are fully monetizing it at a reasonable and efficient CPM. A newspaper company will not likely build a sellable audience and to be competitive on with the broadcaster rates it will be a pennies revenue stream. The article referenced $300 million in the DMA being invested in video. That does not mean pre-roll on publisher and broadcaster sites only. It includes video production and delivery on their own websites and through audience targeting on video networks. Video should be part of the news delivery model but with a sensible approach that balances cost and resources according to the revenue potential. A best approach for newspapers would be to partner with a video production company that can deliver broadcast quality production timely and affordably (advertiser absorbs the cost) and be the intermediary between the advertiser and video networks - as a secondary or tertiary sales focus.
palmer brown posted over 2 years ago
Wait. Wait. Wait. How did I miss this? "Area cable operators, faced with mounting competition from Netflix and other online providers, are considering running the Calkins news video on a channel or on video on demand, Jameson says. “They see hyperlocal news as a possibility for retaining subscribers.” I know a little bit about the cable business. If you are referring to Comcast, no they do NOT. Sure there is Netflix, time-shifted viewing, etc. but the cable business is complicated. There is retransmission fees, paid programming, advertising, subscriptions, syndication, and more. Hyperlocal news at the carrier level would be compartmented with local cable access channels - pays for the office pens.

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