SBS Financials powers some of the largest multi-entity media groups in the U.S. We share in our customers' success and are happy to pass along the accolades their receive. In 2019, three SBS customers were recognized in Editor and Publisher's 10 Newspapers That Do it Right competition.
SBS customer Adams Publishing Group acquired the Idaho Press (then called the Idaho Press-Tribune) in late 2017. Not only did the publication start off 2018 with a new owner, it also lost its biggest printing customer.
“As we began strategy meetings to overcome this challenge, we defined two possible options for us to consider,” said president and publisher Matt Davison. “Option one, get smaller quickly. This would likely result in day cuts, section eliminations and significant staff reductions. Option two, get bigger and better.”
So, with the support of its new owner, the Press chose option two and aggressively expanded its local news coverage and offered home delivery across the entire Boise City-Nampa metropolitan area. As a result of the expansion, the paper also went on a hiring spree: a new community engagement editor, who relaunched the third section of the paper and reinvigorated the Sunday Life section; a new photo editor; a new sports editor; three new reporters to cover Boise City Hall, Ada County government and Ada County cops and courts; and a government reporter to cover the state capital.
The print product also underwent a transformation. In August 2018, the Press purchased Boise Weekly, a 20,000 alternative weekly and established a Boise bureau. The weekly is inserted into the Press every Thursday as its entertainment section. In addition, the paper added a new Farm and Ranch section every Friday filled with agriculture content from across the state. The paper also added to its local sports coverage, and reimagined its Sunday Comics into a new tabloid publication called Lazy Sunday. The section includes all Sunday comic strips, a collection of several new puzzles and a weekly TV grid—and it has been very popular among readers and advertisers.
All of these efforts have paid off, said Davison in the E&P write-up. Since March 2018, the circulation has increased 22 percent daily and 31 percent Sunday.
“Our expansion effort was not only motivated by finances,” Davison said. “We launched the effort because we saw a need in the community, a need for a printed daily newspaper that provides news of the day all in one place, sports scores, late-night city council decisions, late-breaking news from the night before, along with all of those features that traditional newspaper readers have always appreciated finding in their local newspaper.”
In 2016, the Richmond Times-Dispatch hired its first staff meteorologist to reinvent a staple of news coverage and deliver a distinction in how newspapers reported on weather. To find the right person, the paper posted the job on JournalismJobs.com, but not under the “newspapers” category, under the “TV/radio” category, believing that was where a traditional TV meteorologist would be searching job listings. The paper found meteorologist John Boyer. Since he joined the paper, weather-content page views have increased from 3.2 million in 2016 to nearly 13 million in 2018. In addition, the advertising department was able to sell a two-year print and digital sponsorship package that generated $260,000 in new revenue, according to the E&P story.
Tampa Bay Times
The Tampa Bay Times continues to see success with the 24 consumer events it hosts annually. Homes shows, boat shows, job fairs, bridal shows, and senior expos are among the events produced. Nearly 2,000 local businesses participate in the consumer shows. The events offer another way for the company to reach out to the business community and build relationships throughout the year, said E&P.