Today is a good day for the future of alternative newsmedia, thanks to a shrewd business move by the newly-created Voice Media Group, headed by Scott Tobias.
Village Voice Media Holdings' Voice Local Network has tapped Analog Analytics to provide a local coupon solution for its publications. The company's software offers interactive coupons for local online publishers and advertisers, as well as a scalable platform to integrate and optimize the performance of both traditional advertising like print with online interactive and mobile. "We are constantly seeking ways to enhance and extend local online advertising, going beyond our own sites," VVM president and COO Scott Tobias says in a release. "Interactive coupons in all media are very effective and Analog Analytics does an excellent job in providing this technology."
SF Weekly's debut of a new four-color glossy cover this week makes it the sixth Village Voice Media Holdings (VVMH) print publication to adopt the sleek, magazine-style format, and the company plans on rolling out glossy covers at all of its publications within the next eighteen to 24 months, according to a release. "The glossy is the next step in our evolution," president and chief operating officer Scott Tobias says in a statement.
Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC announced today that it has partnered with happy-hour guide GoTime to launch a mobile app detailing more than 15,000 happy hour deals in 30 cities across the country. Users can search happy hours by name, location, time and even type of cuisine, all within one location-aware mobile application."We want to be everywhere our readers are, and that's out on the town, anywhere in the country," VVMH president and COO Scott Tobias says in a release. "We own the night -- and this app really delivers on that." MORE: Seattle Weekly's Mike Seely has more on the origins of the partnership with GoTime.
The South Florida alt-weekly ran a lengthy cover story this week on the problems facing South Florida's newspapers, and decided that it would only be fair to report on its own struggles as well. Reporter Lisa Rab says that the New Times newsroom staff has shrunk by four (to 13) and its circulation has dropped from around 80,000 to 54,500 over "the past couple of years." She also talks to Village Voice Media president and chief operating officer Scott Tobias, who says there are no plans afoot to make the paper online-only, to sell it or to merge its operations with its sister paper to the south, Miami New Times.
The Voice Local Network will allow select publishers to monetize their content using Village Voice Media's locally based sales forces. VVM says the network is designed for web publishers that match both the content and the core demographics of its newspapers. "We've been working the streets, merchant to merchant, for years developing personal relationships in all of our cities," VVM president and chief operating officer Scott Tobias says. "Through these connections, we've developed a very high local CPM web business, and it's a natural evolution to help other publishers tap into our network of advertisers."
VVM's digital publishing strategy has been in the news quite a bit lately, whether it was the company's partnership with a social-networking site or its use of Digg to help drive traffic to its stories. Chief operating officer Scott Tobias and web and digital operations director Bill Jensen spoke with AAN News this week about where the paper is going with web publishing. They tell us that digital is a growth area for VVM, both in terms of pageviews and revenue, and they talk about new projects like geo-targeted ads and a national food website.
Responding in part to rumors circulating on a Denver website that Village Voice Media is on the brink of collapse, president and COO Scott Tobias talks to Westword's Michael Roberts about how the company's 15 papers are faring. Tobias says the company as a whole remains profitable and any talk of insolvency is hogwash, but concedes that times are tough. "Are we soft?" he asked. "No question. We go as our local mom and pops go, and our local mom and pops are having a hard time." He also talks about the company's new "uberblogger" strategy, which started with Roberts in Denver. One staff member at each paper is now being tasked with writing a handful of blog posts each day and editing and processing blog posts by other staffers and freelancers. Tobias says the focus on daily content is part of a transition "from a print product to a web platform with a print piece."
Baltimore City Paper, Metro Times, Orlando Weekly and the San Antonio Current are as of today exclusively represented by Ruxton for national print advertising, according to a press release. The papers will join their newly-acquired sister paper, the Cleveland Scene, as part of the advertising network owned and operated by Village Voice Media. VVM chief operating officer Scott Tobias says the discussions about joining Ruxton began while VVM and Times-Shamrock were negotiating the sale of the Scene earlier this year. The addition of the four papers means Ruxton has a print presence in 50 American cities, including all of the top 20 markets, with a total weekly print circulation of more than 3.6 million.