Local Media Consortium Releases First Member Economic Impact Report
The Local Media Consortium, a strategic alliance of local media companies, released its first member economic impact report that “quantifies how its strength-in-numbers business model is helping the industry maximize digital cost savings and revenue for long-term sustainability.”
This baseline impact report finds that by banding together to leverage scale, in 2020 the LMC delivered an estimated $44 million in benefits to its 100 media members, which comprise nearly 5,000 vital local new outlets across North America and Puerto Rico. This included more than $13 million in cost savings and nearly $31 million in member partner revenue based on numbers reported by the LMC’s 30 partners. The report also finds that 90% of LMC members realized an annual ROI of 100% or higher compared to their membership dues last year, despite pandemic-related challenges.
In addition to partner benefits, the LMC invested $1.4 million in strategic initiatives and dues waivers in 2020 to help support its members during this very volatile year. Working with Google and Facebook, the LMC also helped administer more than $30 million in grants and marketing campaigns in support of local media.
“We believe one of the best ways to help the local media industry address their business challenges is to take a scalable approach to minimize costs, maximize digital revenue and create sustainable business models that enable local media to continue to serve an important community need,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. “This annual economic impact report provides a valuable benchmarking tool for us to engage with our members to discuss opportunities that may help them see even greater ROI, and enables us to gauge our performance as we strive to help each member realize a minimum of 100% ROI. In addition to quantifiable economic benefits, the LMC provides intangible value to its members and the local media ecosystem in the form of thought leadership on strategic initiatives such as privacy, consumer revenue, scalable advertising models and content sharing.”
A key part of the LMC’s mission, it says, is to continually deliver value to its members by leveraging its collective scale to negotiate terms with digital publishing technology and service providers that are superior to the retail rates an individual local media outlet would likely be able to attain independently. The LMC’s member economic impact report finds that Google ad serving delivers the highest expense savings for members. Other top-performing programs in 2020 included data and insights services through Adswerve; obituaries through Legacy; ad operations through OpsCo; email marketing via LiveIntent and branded content creation and distribution through The Branded Content Project.
In terms of revenue generation, classifieds and obituaries through Legacy/Adpay has delivered the highest ad revenue to LMC members. Other top performing revenue generators are cross-platform digital advertising through Centro and AdCellerant; branded content sponsorships through The Branded Content Project; email marketing via LiveIntent; recruitment through Monster and Google’s LMC advertising auction package. Through these partner programs, many of the LMC’s members have realized seven-figure results, with some ROI topping 10,000%.
“We’ve been an LMC member since its inception,” said Chris Loretto, executive vice president at Media News Group and Adtaxi and LMC board chair, “and every year we continue to see our ROI increase. In addition to significant cost savings and revenue generation, the LMC provides thought leadership on strategic initiatives important to local media like privacy, diversity, equity and inclusion and scalable advertising models.”
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.
“We participate with seven LMC partners, including Google, AdPay and Monster, which is key to the outstanding ROI we receive from the LMC,” said Mike Orren, chief product officer of The Dallas Morning News and president of Belo Business Intelligence. “The seven-figure benefit we derive from our membership goes straight to our bottom line. In addition, the LMC has been a great partner in exploring new opportunities like branded content and scalable content sharing. Every year we continue to reap more benefits from the LMC.”