Odwyer is out with its annual revenue ranking of independent PR firms, and several Denver-area firms disclosed their 2011 numbers:
67. Linhart PR, $4.60 million (+11% from 2010), 29 employees
89. GroundFloor Media, $2.91 million (-3% from 2010), 13 employees
103. Catapult PR-IR, $1.04 million (+24% from 2010), 6 employees
… thinking about making a move to warehousing:
The Denver Post has crunched the (Arizona Republic’s) numbers, and only Austin, Texas, ranks better than Denver among peer cities when it comes to economic indicators. So if you feel like we are in a recession, it must be your imagination.
Social media and technology, combined with a bad economy, caused several prominent “big agencies” in Indianapolis to Schenkein*, according to the Indianapolis Star. That’d be a lesson to Denver’s mega-agencies, if we had any.
(*Schenk•ein – [shangk-en] – verb – To quickly and unexpectedly shut down your business despite outward appearances that you are doing fine.)
The Associated Press reports that “newspapers’ financial woes worsened in the second quarter as advertising sales shrank by 29 percent, leaving publishers with $2.8 billion less revenue than they had at the same time last year.” More troubling, industry analyst Ken Doctor says newspapers will be lucky to recover half of the losses they have sustained because much of the drop has been from a permanent advertising migration to the Internet rather than just recession-based losses.
Harvard Business School professor John Quelch argues that the current recession demands businesses rethink how they segment their customers.
Rumors are that the Fort Collins Coloradoan has agreed to outsource its printing operations to the Denver Newspaper Agency, a move that helps the DNA fill the printing void left by the Rocky Mountain News and puts up to 50 Fort Collins jobs at risk.
Fresh on the heels of the Rocky’s shutdown, Time Magazine offers its Top 10 List of Newspapers That Will Fold or Go Digital-Only (fortunately, the Denver Post is not one of them).
(Hat Tip: The Denver Egotist)
The University of Southern California released the results of its survey on the effects of the current economic environment on public relations. The highlights:
- Budgets: 51 percent said their 2009 PR budgets are smaller than in 2008, while 18 percent said they are larger than in 2008
- Staff size: 22 percent said they downsized their staffs last year, while 63 percent said they made no changes to staff size last year
- Salaries: 56 percent anticipate salary freezes in 2009, while 21 percent expect salary cuts
- Agencies: 69 percent of those retaining PR agencies have – or plan to – cut agency budgets by an average of 25 percent
The fallout from this brutal economy continues – Denver creative placement agency The Gene Pool will shut its doors on April 1. The Denver Egotist has the details.
The Council of PR Firms released its annual “State of Public Relations Survey,” and the data is what you might expect:
- Average 2008 agency growth was 4 percent, compared to 10 percent in 2007
- 67 percent of agencies expect 2009 revenues to be down or flat
- Social media and digital content creation are the areas agencies expect to grow the most
But, as PR Newswer points out, there is some surprising news as well:
- 30 percent of agencies report they are currently hiring
- 69 percent think the Obama administration will be good for the PR industry
David Milstead at the Rocky Mountain News reports that unions representing employees at the Denver Newspaper Agency have reached a tentative agreement on wage and benefit cuts that average 11.7 percent. According to Milstead, “Today’s tentative agreement includes salary reductions averaging 7 percent, 10 unpaid days off for most workers, the suspension of the 401(k) match, cuts in sick days and mileage reimbursements, and increases in health and dental premiums.” Layoffs are still a possibility if the agreement doesn’t yield the $18 million in concessions the DNA was seeking.
Congratulations to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., whose $100,000 “Colorado Loves California” campaign to recruit West Coast companies to Denver has generated more than $2 million in advertising equivalency. If you see an influx of tan people driving Porsches, feel free to blame Annie Boeckman.
If, in your office pool, you had 23 straight quarters that Level 3 would post negative earnings, well, you are out of luck. After a mere 22 straight, Level 3 busted out of its slump to post a quarterly profit of $44 million. Telecom analysts think the gain came from spending cuts, but we think the CFO finally said screw it and just invested the entire marketing budget shorting financial stocks. Either way, Wall Street still wasn’t impressed. Level 3 shares dropped 15 percent on the profit news.
Magazines saw their newsstand sales fall “at their fastest rate in decades during the second half of 2008,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The decline foreshadows “a likely downsizing of the industry as it braces for an extended advertising slump.”
The Denver dailies may get the lion’s share of attention, but the downwardly spiraling economics of publishing are affecting newspapers across the state. The latest is the Grand Junction Free Press, which announced it will convert from a daily paper to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday paper. The paper’s Web site will be updated daily, however.
(Hat tip to Michael Roberts at Westword)
What do you do when the world thinks your product is obsolete and that the world has passed you by? You launch a public relations campaign, of course. And that is exactly what the newspaper industry is doing with a series of commentaries and a new Web site. Will it work? Who knows? At the very least, it will give newspaper folks some experience in PR before they are forced to make the leap.
More than 200,000 jobs have been cut in the past month alone, 68,000 of which were announced today. The good news? Many economists predict that the recession will end after the second quarter of 2009.
That is how Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.’s Tom Clark described Colorado’s economic situation. Analysts predict the U.S. recession, which is already more than a year old, “could run another six to 12 months but spare Colorado its full wrath.” The Denver Post has the details.
Gannett Co., impressed with the bad-ass way Scripps and Hearst dealt with the Rocky and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, is following suit with threats to close the Tucson Citizen if it does not find a buyer by March 21.
Seattle is feeling our pain. Hearst announced it will shut down – or at least move to an online only format – the Seattle Post-Intelligencer if a buyer cannot be found in the next 60 days.
PR Week reports that many PR firms “are reporting that clients are asking them to take a hiatus from full-time work as the country enters 2009 with a sense of trepidation.”
A day after Moody’s downgraded MediaNews Group, citing its “substantial”risk of default, CEO Dean Singleton today asked unions representing the Denver Post and the Denver Newspaper Agency to “reopen their labor contracts immediately” in an effort to cut costs by $20 million. Jeff Smith at the Rocky Mountain News reported that Singleton would seek concessions of $2 million from the Post and $18 million from newspaper agency.
And that wasn’t the only bad news for MediaNews Group today. The Wall Street Journal reported that the MediaNews Group-owned Detroit News has joined the Gannett-owned Detroit Free Press in considering cutting home delivery of the papers to three days per week. The remaining four days would be available only via newsstands.
Moody’s downgraded MediaNews Group today, saying the owner of the Denver Post “faces a heightened risk of near-term default under the financial tests of its recently amended senior secured credit agreement as well as the refinancing risk posed by the December 2009 maturity of its revolving credit facility.” The Denver Business Journal has the details.
As expected, the Tribune Co. – owner of KWGN/Channel 2 – filed for bankruptcy. And the New York Times Co. announced it will borrow as much as $225 million – using its Manhattan flagship headquarters as collateral – to “to ease a potential cash flow squeeze as the company grapples with tighter credit and shrinking profits.”
CU economists predict Colorado’s unemployment rate will rise to 6.5 percent next year – from the current 5.7 percent – as the state joins the rest of the nation in a recession.
The number of unemployed Coloradans “surged” in October, rising to 5.7 percent, driven in part by layoffs at companies such as ProLogis, MDC Holdings, United Launch Alliance, Janus Capital, Western Union and Sun Microsystems. Jamie Paton at the Rocky Mountain News has the details.
An American Press Institute closed-door summit has concluded that the newspaper industry has reached “full-blown crisis” stage and will need outsiders to help it weather the storm. Editor & Publisher has the details.
The Vail weekly newspaper Vail Trail has ceased publication after 46 years, a casualty of the economic downturn.
This contract should certainly last long enough for Verizon to acquire Qwest and move the headquarters to New York City. Sigh.
Oh to be young, ruthless and in New York City. Just make sure you don’t get stiffed by representing the losers.
Might be time for a few of those “we’re here for you” calls to your clients.
It’s time to raise your rates … Denver’s economy is better than we thought.
Colorado lost 13,700 jobs in July … but that is actually good news because it is a slightly lower-than-usual drop for the month … but the number of unemployed Coloradans has increased significantly since April and is roughly 41,000 higher than a year ago … but statewide payrolls have grown by 31,400 (or 1.3 percent) over the past 12 months.
Mirroring the trend of declining newspaper circulation, newsstand sales of U.S. magazines dropped 6.3 percent during the first half of 2008. Analysts blamed rising food and gas costs that have “led consumers to cut back on nonessential spending.”
MediaNews CEO Dean “Shut the F&%@ Up, We’re Doing Fine” Singleton disclosed that the media company has sold the Connecticut Post and seven weekly newspapers to Hearst in an effort to “manage its balance sheet.” Singleton dismissed the move as business as usual (“This is not our first rodeo”), and insiders are speculating whether this is the first of several deals that will bring Hearst and MediaNews much closer together.
The only remaining question is whether Singleton will make Aldo Svaldi write an article tomorrow about what a shrewd move it is.
UPDATE: Aldo Svaldi’s article is here. Interestingly, Singleton says the biggest threat to newspapers isn’t the Internet, but rather an “old-fashioned recession” that is hurting ad revenues.
The Denver Business Journal reports that Colorado added 31,500 jobs over the past year, while the number of Coloradans who are unemployed also grew.
The advertising slowdown seen in the newspaper and radio industries is threatening to spread to the rest of the media, “casting a shadow over a year that was supposed to benefit from the Beijing Olympics and a high-spending election season,” according to Financial Times.
The Denver Post’s and Rocky Mountain News’ latest earnings report isn’t going to quell rumors that one of them will acquire the other and convert it to an online-only offering soon. The papers saw their Q2 earnings drop 78 percent –- from $6 million to $1.3 million — in Q2 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. A “slumping advertising market” is to blame, according to the Denver Business Journal, which also calculated that the two papers lost money during the quarter.
MillerCoors announced this afternoon that it has selected Chicago as the home of its new headquarters, and that 150-175 (presumably high-paying) jobs will be leaving Golden for the Windy City.
Here’s hoping you don’t have more than $100,000 in Greenwood Village-based Colorado Federal Savings Bank, because lists like this are what cause runs on banks.