“We have lost a lot of revenue by not offering online products.”
This quote by Cloves C. Campbell Jr., chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and publisher of Phoenix’s Arizona Informant, rings true for hundreds of publishers nationwide. The NNPA — also known as the Black Press of America — has over 200 member newspapers in two-thirds of the United States, including Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most of the NNPA’s member newspapers are weeklies, including the Los Angeles Sentinel, The Atlanta Voice, and the New York Amsterdam News.
Campbell issued this comment shortly after being elected to the chairman title during NNPA’s Annual Convention in Chicago this past June. The NNPA does not have memberships available for online-only publications, even though a majority of the member newspapers do have an online presence. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nebraska, Nevada and West Virginia were the only states with member newspapers that had no website. The logic behind having an online presence for a newspaper is simple — you can expand your audience past print circulation and open a new revenue stream in the form of online advertisements. According to the Knight Digital Media Center, mobile advertising and marketing is already over a $1 billion market worldwide.
NNPA members were encouraged to branch out to social media (Facebook and Twitter) and to format their online content for mobile devices. Aside from the obvious reach to a digitally connected audience, smartphone penetration is higher among mobile users who are part of ethnic and racial minorities in the U.S., according to a 2011 study by The Nielsen Company. Also, more than a third of African-Americans (35%) get their news online, according to data from a December 2010 report from the Pew Research Center. The Afro-American Newspapers, comprised of The Washington Afro and The Baltimore Afro send out a series of daily email newsletters, tweet live sports coverage at @AfroNewsLive, and recently added their archives online in a partnership with Google.
It will be interesting to see if many of the NNPA’s member newspapers jump on board and shift their content offerings towards the Web and mobile devices. With the push for additional revenue is a motivating factor, I’m certain we will see more offerings from these papers in the coming future.