Belo’s Moroney: ‘We’re trading digital dollars for digital pennies’

News & Tech
A typical revenue mix for a newspaper used to be 80 percent advertising and 20 percent circulation. But at The Dallas Morning News, it’s now 60 percent advertising, 30 percent print and digital subscribers and consumer purchases; and 10 percent commercial printing and distribution. CEO Jim Moroney says the abundance of online ad inventory means “we’re not trading digital dollars for digital dimes; we’re trading digital dollars for digital pennies.”

At the Morning News, we did approximately 40 million page views per month. If we had three ads on each page, and if we sold every ad on every page every day, and you assume a $10 average CPM, we would generate just over $14 million annually. We invest $35 million in our newsroom. I just don’t think digital dimes will get you there. And certainly digital pennies won’t. Metro newspaper sites just won’t scale to make those dimes and pennies add up anywhere close to the revenue being lost in the print product. We must find different ways to realize the value of our digital audiences than just CPM based advertising. Go ahead and stack the digital ad dimes. Yet at the same time, I’d be looking for sources of revenue other than advertising.

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  • MM

    One question: When do we think that that the migration of legal notices on line enter the equation? That is another exhange of dollars for pennies that hasn’t yet begun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Philip-Claysin/100002732168601 Philip Claysin

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad 2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://to.ly/aRG4

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Philip-Claysin/100002732168601 Philip Claysin

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad 2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://to.ly/aRG4

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Interesting. I thought he meant that we’re trading “digital dollars” (e.g. digital subscriptions) for “digital dimes” or pennies (e.g. digital display ads). But I should probably just ask, shouldn’t I? –Julie

  • Mike Weekley

    That’s true, but the phrase “Go ahead and stack the digital ad dimes” seemed to frame the passage like other options weren’t already being explored and monetized efficiently. Of course we won’t get there on banner sales alone.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OP47LSKCGMSESKFGS2CFKRLPCQ Anthony

    Jim Moroney, who I used to work for, is great for a quote in addition to being a provocative and insightful media thinker.  But I think he meant to say trading “print” dollars for digital pennies.  Looking at the story on the original site, that’s how the question was framed.

  • http://twitter.com/westseattleblog West Seattle Blog

    Or how about look at what in the world you are spending $35 million on … 100 reporters at 100K a year would be 10 million dollars. Sell your offices, get everybody laptops and wi-fi. How many support staffers do you really need? Seriously, at least for an exercise, line it out from the ground up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    Hence (from the excerpt shown just above): “We must find different ways to realize the value of our digital audiences than just CPM based advertising.”

  • Mike Weekley

    This sounds a little short-sighted to me. The advertising industry has changed, no doubt, and we must adapt at a feverish pace to secure whatever market share we can salvage. This means coming up with creative sales concepts that leverage our power as a trusted local news source. Video, text messages, live-streaming, contests, coupon pages, daily deals… that’s a start. All are viable revenue opportunities that we must invest in and provide as marketing vehicles to advertisers.