Village Voice Media (VVM) recently launched the Voice Local Network, which extends the company’s sales reach beyond its 15 weekly traditional publications and related online properties to third party sites such as:
In addition, the company has a relationship with and equity stake in local recommendations site LikeMe.net. Village Voice Media also owns classifieds directory and Craigslist competitor Backpage.com.
I spoke to Bill Jensen, Village Voice Media’s director of new media, who told me that VVM has roughly 20 local sales reps in each market and is successfully selling ads to local businesses across print, online, email, mobile and “events” as well as on this new Voice Local Network. While there are some national ads, 90%+ of VVM’s advertising is local. All the ad creative is done by staff, but Jensen is preparing (and building tools) for a time when more SMBs will be doing self-service.
Unlike the daily publications VVM has apparently been able to transition to online without loss of ad revenues. Jensen did say that the Village Voice namesake publication in New York has “taken a hit” because it relied heavily at one time on classified advertising.
Jensen predicted that the metro dailies would publish their traditional print editions less and less and would eventually become weeklies themselves.
It would seem to be the VVM’s mix of content and local sales, as well as the successful transition to an online daily publication, that have enabled the company and its pubs to remain relevant to readers and well as advertisers. Accordingly VVM seems to be bucking conventional newspaper trends.