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McClatchy Declares Bankruptcy

Posted on Friday, February 28, 2020 at 4:48 PM

In the news: A major newspaper publisher has filed for bankruptcy. What does this mean for its newsrooms?

On February 13, the Associated Press reported that newspaper publishing giant McClatchy Co. was filing for bankruptcy. According to the AP, it’s business as usual for the publisher’s 30 newspaper titles as it reorganizes. Tali Arbel and Michelle Chapman write: “The company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy protection in a few months as a private company, with majority ownership by a hedge fund that’s currently McClatchy’s largest shareholder and debtholder, Chatham Asset Management.” This is a significant shift for the company: “That would end 163 years of family control,” Arbel and Chapman say.

McClatchy’s bankruptcy filing reflects industry-wide issues with audience and ad revenue. (As the AP article notes, Facebook and Google win the lion’s share of online ad revenue.” Although McClatchy gained digital subscribers in 2019, revenue fell 12.1%, report Arbel and Chapman. Read more here.

Also Notable

Honing Paywall Strategy

This month, several magazines have erected paywalls, including Fortune, the New Republic, and Women’s Wear Daily. Beth Braverman of Foliomag.com discusses the various paywall routes each publisher is taking -- Fortune, for instance, will continue offering free content while also locking a lot of its content behind three different paywall tiers. Elsewhere, Braverman reports, the New Republic has launched a metered paywall and Women’s Wear Daily is putting up a dynamic paywall. Read more here.

Publishers Moving On from Third-Party Cookies

Publishers are being forced to recalibrate ad strategy as Google phases out third-party cookies over the next two years. “The limited shelf life of third-party identifiers means that publishers are getting more direct requests for access to their audience data,” says Lucinda Southern of Digiday.com. “Gaining user consent post-General Data Protection Regulation means that data-led buys across the open marketplace are harder to do,” she adds. Read more about this shift toward “first-party data strategies” here.

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