The Local Media Consortium, a strategic alliance of local media companies, today announced the release of its second annual member economic impact report, which quantifies how its strength-in-numbers business model helps local newspapers, broadcasters and online outlets maximize digital cost savings and increase revenue for long-term sustainability through strategic partnerships with digital platforms and service providers.
The report finds year-over-year gains in each of the economic impact report metrics, including a 21% increase in cumulative revenue and cost savings, and a 34% increase in member engagements with the LMC’s 30 partners. By banding together to leverage scale, in 2021 the LMC delivered an estimated $54 million in benefits to its now 101 media members, which comprise more than 5,000 vital local news outlets across North America and Puerto Rico. This included more than $14 million in cost savings and nearly $39 million in member partner revenue based on numbers reported by the organization’s partners. The report also finds that 98% of LMC members realized an annual ROI of 100% or higher compared to their membership dues last year.
Further adding to its member value, the LMC invested $500,000 in strategic initiatives in 2021 to help support its members as they seek to recoup ad sales revenues lost during the pandemic. Working with partners such as Google and Meta, the LMC also helped administer programs in support of local media, including the Google News Initiative’s Digital Growth Program and Advertising Revenue Playbook, and a new $1 million Meta investment in the organization’s Branded Content Project.
“The Local Media Consortium was created to help the local media industry coalesce to minimize costs, maximize digital revenue and strengthen their means to serve an important community need,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. “This annual economic impact report, now in its second year, enables us to put pen to paper to help our members quantify which partnerships and programs deliver the most ROI, and discuss opportunities for growth. It’s gratifying to see an increase across the board in member engagements, cost savings and revenue generation.”
Wills adds that in addition to quantifiable economic benefits, the LMC provides intangible value to its members and the local media ecosystem through their annual Spring conference and with programs such as the launch of the NewsNext strategic initiative to redefine local media’s standing in the digital ecosystem, NewsPassID local news advertising network, the Community Committee that focuses on solutions for small- and mid-sized local media outlets and the Broadcast Committee which explores partnerships benefiting TV and radio members.
A key part of the LMC’s mission is to continually deliver value to its members by leveraging its collective scale to work with digital publishing technology and service providers. The LMC’s member economic impact report finds that in 2021 ad serving with Google Ad Manager delivered the highest expense savings and significant programmatic advertising growth for members. Other top-performing programs in 2021 included data and insights services through Adswerve; branded content creation and distribution through The Meta Branded Content Project; and email marketing via LiveIntent.
“As the LMC board chair, I understand the benefit of participating in LMC partnership programs,” said Chris Loretto, Executive Vice President Revenue and Chief Digital Officer at Media News Group. “Through our participation with 13 partnerships in 2021, we received financial benefits that have made a significant contribution to our digital business.”
During calendar year 2021, LMC members enjoyed a 21% increase in cost savings and revenue generation benefits, with 357 new partner engagements. In terms of revenue generation, classifieds and orbituaries through Legacy/Adpay delivered the highest ad revenue to LMC members, stressing the valuable role local newspapers play in helping customers discover their family stories and share loved ones’ obituaries. Other top performing revenue generators this past year included cross-platform digital advertising through AdCellerant; email marketing via LiveIntent; streamlined digital campaign management and optimization through Basis Technologies’ platform; and native ads with Outbrain.
“As a community publisher, we place a high priority on digital marketing partnerships producing positive ROI,” said Michael Martoccia, VP – digital sales and marketing at Adams Publishing Group. “We participated in five LMC partnerships in 2021 and realized a substantial financial return on our affiliation with LMC.”
In addition to releasing these cumulative results, the LMC has provided its members with individual impact reports detailing their revenue, cost savings, total annual benefit, ROI, number of partner engagements and recommended partner opportunities.
“After joining the LMC in 2021, we started participating in three partnerships and realized over $150,000 of benefit in less than six months,” said Jamie Cohen, SVP Broadcast Digital, Salem Media Group.