Gannett bids for Tribune


All newspaper industry eyes are watching to see what will happen next with Gannett and Tribune.  On vacation or taking a digital hiatus and miss the news of Gannett’s bid to buy Tribune earlier this week?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Here’s a roundup of articles on the potential acquisition:

  • USA Today provided a good overview of the news of the deal in which Gannett has offered $815 million to buy Tribune just weeks after acquiring Journal Media Group for $280 million.

  • The Tribune chairman Michael Ferro Jr. reportedly missed the email from Gannett CEO Robert Dickey offering to buy the company, as reported by the Wall Street Journal:

  • The WSJ details that the offer has not been without drama:

  • Poynter provides interesting commentary and speculation that the takeover is likely to go through, though not without the blessing of the DOJ:

  • Predictions from Poynter on what the deal would mean for Tribune, should it go through:

  • Media Life Magazine taps newspaper merger and acquisitions authority Sara April to provide expert analysis of the deal and what it means in the context of industry trends, pointing to a recent surge in newspaper deals.

  • For more analysis from Media Life, particularly through the lens of what it means for Tribune, see here:

The acquisition would certainly have effects for media buyers and advertisers – even though Gannett claims editorial staff is valued and journalists would not be affected, it is very likely many administrative functions (ad sales, billing, etc.) will be centralized or “streamlined” to maximize cost savings ($50 million in “synergies”).  Now that we’re all caught up, stay tuned.  The uncertainty is undoubtedly shaking things up at papers held by both media companies.  More to come.

Post by Darcy Mauke

Our Favorite Newspaper Bloopers

Journalism is serious business and MediaBids is serious about supporting the role of newspapers in upholding democracy. However, even the most prestigious entities make mistakes, and it can be pretty darn funny when it happens. Here’s a few of our favorite newspaper items that were unfit to print, but got printed anyway:


An Impressive Announcement (Source



It happens to the best of us.  (Source)


There has never been more helpful advice. (Source)



A true shame.  (Source)


Seriously? (Source


Newspaper Readers Don’t Use Mobile Phones

Did I get your attention?

Conventional wisdom, at least from not long ago, would say that older Americans are not that ”digital.” In 2014, Pew Research showed that people 65+ were still about 18% less likely to use a mobile phone and they’re only about half as likely to go online and/or have broadband access. In other words, people 65+ are kind of like the ”settlers” in the latest (and very funny) series of DIRECTV commercials.

For sure, older Americans are still doing some things at a higher rate than the generations coming up behind them; like watching TV (when the show airs rather than time shifting), using the landline to make calls, ”going online” using their desktop PC and reading newspapers (the kind that will occasionally leave black ink on your fingers.) However, if our first-quarter call data is any indication, the conventional wisdom about older Americans and newspaper readers may be quickly becoming more conventional than wisdom.

Mobile vs Landline Chart

Our chart shows the percentage difference between the number of mobile calls versus landline calls; meaning in Texas, for example, there were over 300% more mobile calls than landline calls during the first three months of this year. New York State, at the other end of this scale, had a small difference between the number of mobile and landline calls. Of course, without weighing the types of publications and the specific advertisers that drove the calls, we’re not suggesting anyone jump to conclusions. Although, the advertiser mix is likely similar across these states. Also, for this comparison we only looked at the ten highest population states. The total sample, for all ten states, is tens of thousands of qualified calls.

The point is that with so much change in media devices and technology and so much change in our habits over the past several years, it’s likely we don’t know as much about ”seniors,” ”millennials,” ”adults 25-54” or any demographic set for that matter. If newspaper and print readers are reaching for their mobile phones first (often at a much higher rate than landlines) then it’s time to update the popular view of newspaper/print readers…if it’s possible.

Post by Jim Jinks




For the Love of Print


If the smell of newsprint conjures up images of enjoying your morning coffee, reading the Sunday paper in bed, chances are you can appreciate good journalism and have a love of print.

Maybe today you get your favorite newspaper delivered electronically and you browse the digital edition.  But the “lean back” activity of reading an offline edition is uniquely relaxing and singularly engaging.  Your attention is less easily diverted than when you’re consuming content from a screen, easily able to navigate away from the page to your email or another app on your smartphone or tablet.  Maybe this helps to explain the high conversion rate of print ads.

There is something nostalgically satisfying about reading the print edition.  The tactile experience of holding it in your hands.

These days I think subscribing to the print edition of a newspaper or magazine demonstrates a commitment to that publication and the work is produces.  Maybe you can read much of the content online, but you enjoy the publication so much that you are signaling support for their journalism by being a paid subscriber.  With such a rich media landscape, there are so many (free) sources of compelling content.  Paying is a very conscious choice.  Print publications depend on their readership, as it influences their value to advertisers.  And most publications are still predominantly supported by advertiser revenue.

Personally, I have the magazine Real Simple delivered to my home monthly – despite the fact that anyone can see much of their content online and through their social media feeds.  I feel a sense of loyalty to the magazine as a subscriber (even when reading it takes me months to get to). I always hit my monthly limit of online articles on Harvard Business Review and the New York Times, though I’ve yet to pony up for paid access beyond that.  Also online I’ll skim The Atlantic, Wired, Fortune, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company, as well as many others.

My father-in-law has the Wall Street Journal delivered and reads it cover to cover, in addition to their local newspaper.  I think this consumer behavior is relatively common across a certain demographic.  I know this pattern has generational influences, but it is not all explained by age.  Research suggests that print is seeing a resurgence of popularity among millennials today.

The transformation of the industry has certainly not been as drastic or sudden as some predicted, though it has not been without casualties.  What shuttered publications do you miss?

Some publications that have gone out of business have been brought back.  Domino, an interior design magazine, went out of business in 2009 only to be brought back by its “devoted cult following” in 2013.  With a rich print subscriber base magnified by a strong website and enriched by email and social media, they boast “one billion media impressions” since their 2013 relaunch according to their media kit.

How about you?  Which newspapers and magazines do you subscribe to?  Were your favorites among the hottest in 2015?  What content could you not live without?  Though you may not miss the smudged ink on your fingertips, doesn’t leisurely leafing through the paper at the kitchen table sound appealing?  Does modern life make that so unimaginable – to unplug and focus on one thing?  With a cup of coffee.

Post by Darcy Mauke

5 Crazy Facts About Inbound Calls


Here at MediaBids, we drive some great, high-quality phone calls to our advertisers from ads we place in newspapers and magazines. Our calls are typically 6-7 minutes long, meaning our clients get some great leads and sales from the customers we drive.

Typically, inbound phone calls are great for advertisers no matter what the medium it is that drives them. We’re partial to print, but here’s some crazy facts about the inbound call landscape right now:

Despite all of the digital ways consumers can use to interact with a company, phone calls are still a huge part of of the sales and customer service cycle, and they’re not going away any time soon.

Post by Jess Greiner


Happy Made-Up Holiday Day!

lexington-180975_1280Many of you outside the northeast may be unaware but today in Massachusetts (and Maine), public workers and school kids have the day off to celebrate Patriot’s Day -the two-state holiday commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord; the events that kicked off the American Revolution in April, 1775. It’s also the day that the rest of us in New England, bitter and disgruntled, feel cheated for not having a ”made-up holiday” like Patriot’s Day. So in honor of the day and in the spirit of made-up holidays (sorry to my Massachusetts (and Maine) friends), I thought why not take a break from blogging about media and the print industry. Instead, today, we’ll look at other made-up holidays (a.k.a. important state traditions) from around the country.


Alaska -Seward’s Day (March 28th, thereabouts) – The United States purchased  Alaska from Russia in 1867. Seward’s Day celebrates Secretary of State William Seward’s signing of the treaty that made Alaska officially a part of the U.S.

Texas -Texas Independence Day (March 2nd)- In case you didn’t know Texas was once an independent country, Texas celebrates a holiday to remind you. The kids don’t get the day off from school but some state workers do have the day off. The Texas Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence.



Texas -San Jacinto Day (April 21st)-As they say, everything is big in Texas. This goes for state holidays as well. In addition to celebrating their declaration of independence, they also celebrate the day they won the battle of San Jacinto; the victory that won Texas’ independence from Mexico. San Jacinto is an official state holiday, meaning all public workers and school kids have the day off.



Hawaii -King Kamehameha Day (June 11th)- King Kamehameha Day is an official state holiday in Hawaii. It’s a day that Hawaiians celebrate their rich heritage and history. It’s the only official holiday in America that celebrates the life and contributions of a royal figure.


Utah – Pioneer Day (July 24th)- Pioneer Day is an official state holiday in Utah, commemorating the arrival of Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. They made the treacherous winter journey from Illinois to Utah, in 1847, to escape religious persecution and start anew.



Nevada -Nevada Day (October 31st)- Apparently October 31st is extra special in Nevada. Along with Halloween, it’s ”Nevada Day,” an official state holiday. It commemorates October 31st, 1864, the day Nevada was admitted to statehood. Apparently Nevada has by far the largest statewide celebration of its admission to statehood. As far as ”made-up” holidays go, Nevada has as good as a reason to take a day as anyone.

There you have it. Our unofficial list of all the odd-ball state holidays from around the country. I know I skipped a few in Texas, but c’mon, how many does one state really need anyway? If I missed one, please mention it in the comments below. Thanks.

Post by Jim Jinks


Generating Ad Revenue in Print


A recent article in The Guardian points to the challenges newspapers face attracting advertisers and maintaining ad revenue.  And yet millions of people are still picking up print editions.  Though the article comments specifically on the UK market, the same could be said of the industry here in the US.  But contrary to the sentiment the author suggests that “publishers must find new ways to convince advertisers that they have audiences worth targeting,” we would argue that publishers are tasked with finding alternative ways to monetize their product.  Convincing advertisers of the value of their readership is not enough.

While many have looked to selling digital advertising as their saving grace, there is another option.  A new revenue stream within the print property.  Per-inquiry advertising.  Yes, this involves publications taking on risk and shifting from their traditional model.  But if they are boasting engaged readership, shouldn’t they have confidence in their ability to drive response?

Advertisers are paying per response in other mediums, so is it really that unrealistic that they expect to be able to do the same in print?  They demand performance, measurability, and tracking.  Advertisers need to justify spending, after all.

Here are MediaBids, we believe in the power and value of newspapers.  Our President, Jedd Gould, has said “we at MediaBids feel very strongly that newspapers and magazines are a critical component to democracy in the United States…we really feel that without newspapers and magazines and the original content that they’re producing, we all would be worse off”.  When is this truer than in an election year?  Yet, we know the model is being threatened by economic pressures and changes in the advertising landscape.

Hundreds of publications have already adapted and teamed with MediaBids to run per inquiry ads.  While response varies widely depending on many factors such as advertising campaign and publication size, its undeniable these campaigns are driving calls and sales, thus delivering revenue to publications.  If you’d like to increase your advertising revenue and feature national advertisers in your publication, give us a call today at 860-379-9602 or learn more at

3 Easy Ways to Generate Sales from Print Ads

Sale Concept Clipped Cards and Lights

If you are placing ads in newspapers and magazines with the intention of trying to get consumers to pick up the phone to purchase something, or buy online immediately, there’s three types of offers that we see advertisers have success with in print time and time again.

Unlike online ads, it’s harder to get print readers to take action immediately. Online, if a person sees a banner with an offer they like or good promo code they can click on the banner ad and immediately be directed to the product for purchase.

With print advertising, it takes a little more effort on the consumer’s part to make a purchase. They either have to pick up their phone and call from the ad, or retype a URL and/or promo code to redeem the offer online.

No matter what it is you’re advertising in print, if you feature one or more of these three things in the ad creative itself, it will increase your chances of a sale.

1.) Deep Discount – Do you get those Bed Bath and Beyond coupons in the mail so much you almost begin to expect 20% off when you visit? Brands need to make their offers stand out – if you’re going to spend money on print – feature a sale that will make the readers stand up and take notice. Feature as deep of a discount as you can – 40-50% off get great response for our advertisers. Why is Groupon successful? Because consumers know they’re getting a great deal.

One of the advertisers we work with who gets great results doing this is Dancing Deer Baking Company. Here’s a sample of their latest ad:


2.) Giveaway – Is there something that you can offer that is not too costly to you, but will be an exciting bonus to consumers? If so, include it in your ad. A good example of this is one of our advertisers, Omaha Steaks. They always include great freebies to the consumers in their offer, and year after year their ads get great results.


3.) Limited-Time Offer –  When a deal has a short life-span, it can move people to take action. Seasonal or short-term offers often yield great response for our advertisers.


Looking for more advice on effective creative? Our design team is happy to help. Call MediaBids at 860-379-9602 or send us an email at

Limit Your Opportunity Costs & Raise Your Short-Term ROI

Money TreesEven if money did grow on trees, we would still be faced with decisions in business (and life) that cost us revenue or income, all the time. Really, the only question is to what degree or how much.

In economics this is referred to as ”opportunity costs.” It is the ”loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” In other words, when we make a choice, we lose the value (however defined) of having made other choices.

Business owners and managers are faced with opportunity costs nearly every day. This is perhaps most acute in terms of hiring new employees – especially salespeople. The churn rate in sales averages about 28% a year, meaning if you hire four salespeople this year you are nearly certain to end the year with only three. As we all know, the time and costs associated with hiring salespeople are high. A quick Google search turns up a range of $120k to over $1 million per year, depending on the industry. These costs include salary, benefits, training and lost productivity (meaning new sales!) What seems to go unnoticed or under-appreciated, is the fact that the costs of generating sales -in the short-term- is likely to exceed the revenue from new sales, meaning your short-term ROI is negative or neutral at best. It’s a major challenge.

Media properties and publications face these same costs and challenges. Increasingly, print publications have turned to ”off the page” or alternative revenue sources; these include events, sponsorships, buying clubs, in-house marketing businesses, etc. Nevertheless, there is one alternative source that doesn’t require an upfront investment of time and resources, the opportunity costs are low and the short-run ROI may well compete with the hiring of a new sales rep.

At Mediabids, our alternative revenue, print advertising service has an upside potential (like other alternatives) but without the high opportunity and hard costs of other options. You simply select the ads and tell us the size/specs. You run the ads in your pages. We then pay you for the response. It’s that simple!

sales chartWe have several publications (particularly the ones that view our service as a true alternative revenue source) that generate over $100k a year. Keep in mind, this revenue is virtually cost free and relative to the costs of other alt revenue options (or the option of hiring a new salesperson), the short-run ROI is tough to beat.

Even if money is growing on trees, at your organization, the opportunity costs of alternatives to Mediabids’ alternative revenue, print advertising, are likely to be unnecessarily high. If you’re considering the pros and cons of your options in the alt revenue space, be sure to include short-run ROI among the variables to be evaluated.

Post by Jim Jinks.







Five Reasons You Should Buy Print Ads Today


  1. Print Ads Have Super High Conversion Rates. Perhaps the biggest stat that we’ve found that we want to shout from the rooftops to marketers everywhere is that PRINT AD CONVERSION RATES ARE SKY HIGH – Specifically from Phone Calls. We’ve seen from our internal data, as well as Invoca’s Call Intelligence Index, print ads with phone numbers convert at a staggering 30-50% – in comparison to just 1-2% conversion rates online. Source
  2. Print Ads Drive High ROI. From a study from Gfk – Print advertising appears to have the highest ROI across marketing methods: 120%! “GfK’s explanation for the outstanding performance of newspaper ads: The internal pacing of print ads enables confrontation at a suitable moment. If the message is relevant, the reader can decide to take his time to examine the offer. Because reach is built within 24 hours, newspapers perform very quickly.”Source
  3.  Print Ads Provide Superior Branding Benefits – Brands that advertise in print magazines achieve higher brand   favorability, purchase intent, and ad awareness than they do online or on TV. MPA Factbook
  4. Print Ads Reach Influencers – Print magazines rank #1 or #2 in reaching influential consumers MPA FactBook
  5. Newspaper Readers Take Action – According to an NNA Study, 4 out of 5 newspaper   readers take action in response to an ad. Source


MediaBids makes it easy to place print ads in newspapers and magazines. To get rates or to learn how you can place ads on a pay-per-call basis, contact s today at or 860-379-9602!