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Lessons from results season: New vs old media products, emerging ad ecosystems and the strength of events

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Jasper Jackson, TheMediaBriefing Experts' Blog, AOL, B2B Media, Consumer Media, Digital Media, Newspapers


It's results season, and the figures coming out of some of the big media companies reflect key trends shaping their fortunes. The key developments? New media battling old media products, emerging advertising ecosystems taking over from old ones and the strength of events are all inescapable for publishers in 2012/13.

-- Axel Springer: Traditional publishing is becoming less important to legacy media businesses. During the first nine months of 2012 at Axel Springer, digital accounted for almost 35 percent of the German media group's revenues, an increase of 2.5 percent.

At €823 million, digital is now Axel's second largest revenue stream, and is on track to overtake newspapers in the near future. Much of that success is down to acquisitions in digital classifieds and innovating around the edges of Springer's core business model.

(Release here)

-- Time Warner: At the TV and magazines giant, niche sites are making money, but not enough to offset print declines. Time's publishing division saw a six percent decline in subs revenues, a five decline in ad revenues and an 18 percent fall in other revenues.

The only bright spot was that those declines were partly offset by digital revenues from Golf.com and SI.com (Sports Illustrated).

(Release here)

-- AOL: Networks and new formats are driving a turnaround for the online content business. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong celebrated flat revenues in Q3 - AOL's self-proclaimed best performance in seven years. That was due to 18 percent growth in both third-party networks and international ads offsetting a decline three percent decline in its biggest segment, domestic display ads.

(Release here)

Another bright spot was premium and video ads, which have pushed up the minimum pricing AOL is prepared to sell space for. They may talk about being a content company - but for web giants the ad tech really matters.

-- Reed Elsevier: Legacy businesses are holding back growth at the Anglo-Dutch professional data and information publisher. During the first nine months of 2012, three of Reed's divisions saw growth of just one or two percent as legacy businesses offset growth in new areas. 

Both LexisNexis Legal & Professional and Elsevier saw print product declines offset by growth in online data and tools. At Reed Business Information data services ICIS, BankersAccuity and XpertHR and its "leading brands" magazine segment saw good growth, but that was offset by weak demand for US construction data and declines in "other magazines".

The one almost unqualified success story was Reed Exhibitions, where revenue was up 15 percent. 

(Release here)

--At Trinity, falling revenue doesn't mean you  you aren't headed in the right direction: Digital revenues were up 8 percent for nationals and 9 percent for regionals, but circulation fell 1 percent and total ad revenues fell 11 percent. 

Nevertheless Trinity's figures were better than previously expected and the firm produced improved profit guidance - which helped push its share price up 5p to almost 70p - that's almost double what it was six months ago. 

(Release here)

Image via flickr curtousey of Images_of_Money.

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