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Hyper-Local Newspaper Challenges the Notion of Print Media Dying

August 28, 2012

The recently published 2012 INC 5000 reports that local monthly newspaper Community Impact ranks at #3045 of the 5000 fastest growing companies.  This is down from spots #1660 in 2011 and #717 in 2010, but it shows that the company is still growing revenues after three consecutive years on the list, itself a feat, considering that most newspapers have seemingly lost circulation in recent years like lemmings off a cliff.

Impact NewsThe differentiating factor may be that the company positions itself as hyper-local.  Under a single brand, Community Impact currently distributes over a dozen separate editions, each delivering content individually tailored to the interests of local communities throughout various metro areas in Texas including Austin, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

From the paper’s website:

Community Impact Newspaper is Texas’ fastest-growing news organization and the most widely distributed news source for relevant and useful information at the community level. Since its launch in 2005, Community Impact Newspaper has restructured an antiquated model—the community newspaper—and turned it into an essential tool by providing readers with useful, informative news.

With a total mailed circulation now more than 750,000, more residents receive a Community Impact Newspaper than any other publication in Texas.

Without knowing the company’s overhead and operating costs, and just based on their reported revenue and circulation numbers, they are at least grossing just under $1 per paper per month; $0.92 to be more exact.  If one were to consider each paper as one impression (as in, one visitor impression in the digital world) then that number translates to a near $920 CPM.

Of course that is a gross revenue estimate and not reflective of profitability. Nonetheless its interesting to see an example of an offline media company figuring out how to scale amidst the  increasingly digital world of Kindles and eReaders.

I personally receive my own local edition of Community Impact once a month.  It comes to my mailbox free of charge, and I have to admit I try to read every issue.  They cover news and business of interest going on in a small radius from where I live.

For the most part I could care less about the latest ramblings of some politician in another part of the world but I do want to know more about the new business opening up down the block.  Also, as I have my head buried in the computer most of the day for work, I still much prefer reading from the printed page whenever possible.

On another note, going back to the Inc. 5000, Media is over-represented far above all other business categories as you can see from the graphic below, although despite the rather singular example above, I tend to assume the majority of this growth comes in the form of digital media.

Inc 5000 Categories

Media towers above other categories in the Inc. 5000

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