• Paul Smith

LMC Releases Member Survey of COVID-19 Impact on Local Newspapers

Pandemic has affected print advertising revenue but publishers expect significant recovery


NEW YORK, Aug. 13, 2020 – The Local Media Consortium today released the results of an FTI Consulting survey of COVID-19’s effect on local newspapers, which found that the US

newspaper industry continues to face the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, with

significant impacts in print advertising revenues.


The survey polled LMC members on how their revenue, advertising and subscriptions have

been affected due to the pandemic, as well as what they forecast for the remainder of Q3 and Q4.


The results showed three key themes: print ROP advertising and free-standing inserts (FSI)

preprints trends continue their downward trajectory; digital advertising appears to be

rebounding; and digital subscriptions are growing rapidly. More specifically, the report found:

● Publishers on average expect to stem total revenue declines in Q3 and Q4 with most

believing that 15% year-over-year top line revenue loss is possible by Q4 2020.

● Both print and digital advertising have been significantly impacted by COVID-19;

however, publishers are still expecting significant recovery in the second half of the

year.

● The COVID-19 bump for digital subscriptions is expected to subside, whereas most

publishers seem to have been minimally impacted from a print circulation standpoint.

● On average publishers expect to take out approximately 17% of costs in Q2 and Q3

2020, with some costs returning in Q4 as revenue returns.

● Publishers have taken the most cost out of advertising [commissions], but also made

reductions in newsroom costs to mitigate the declining advertising revenues.

“Like many industries, local media has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, seeing steep declines in advertising revenue, which have resulted in the closure of more than 50 newsrooms according to Poynter,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. “We are encouraged that the FTI survey shows many publishers expect advertising revenue declines to stabilize in the second half of the year and circulation numbers are forecasted to remain strong. As the coronavirus continues to make an impact, the LMC is even more committed to supporting its local media members through cost-saving and revenue generating partnerships and strategic initiatives like the Local News Advertising Inclusion List, The Matchup, The Branded Content Project and others .”


FTI Consulting conducted the survey during the first two weeks of July, surveying LMC

newspaper media members. The survey results were close to the forecast FTI developed in

April and June for US newspapers through 2021.



About the Local Media Consortium

The Local Media Consortium delivers economic value through strategic partnerships on behalf of nearly 90 local media companies in top markets across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and includes more than 4,000 outlets. The LMC delivers over $50M in annual financial benefit to its members by harnessing their combined volume and scale to reduce costs and increase revenue with technology and service providers like Google, Facebook, Monster and others. According to ComScore, the aggregated LMC audience footprint spans 212 million monthly unique visitors and reaches 80% of the U.S. online audience. More information is available at http://www.localmediaconsortium.com/.


About FTI Consulting

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes: financial, legal, operational, political & regulatory, reputational and transactional. With more than 5,800 employees located in 27 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges and make the most of opportunities. The Company

generated $2.35 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2019. FTI’s Publishing + Digital Media

practice partners with the media industry around business transformation. For more

information, visit www.fticonsulting.com and connect with us on Twitter

(@FTIConsulting), Facebook and LinkedIn.



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