Media Insider: Meredith Increases Revenues, Facebook Commits $4.5M to News Initiatives, Donerail in Talks to Buy Tronc

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.

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Meredith Reports 30% Revenue Increase, Anticipates More Sales of Time Inc Mags

Meredith released its 2018 Q4 and full-year fiscal reports last week, showing a company at the forefront of digital publishing with strong revenue streams. Full-year revenues increased more than 30 percent to $2.2 billion. Among the company’s strongest assets are its digital properties, with company-wide digital activity bringing in $350 million, a record for the company. Going forward, Meredith anticipates increasing scale and efficiency across digital media properties, which reach 175 million American consumers, including 80 percent of U.S. millennial women. Among its portfolio of brands,,, and and were all No. 1 in the entertainment, food and lifestyle categories, respectively.

Meredith isn’t the only media company celebrating higher revenues; News Corp reported a 29 percent increase from last year.

Donerail Group in Talks to Buy Chicago Tribune Owner Tronc

Donerail Group, an investment firm led by former hedge fund manager Will Wyatt, is in talks to acquire Tronc, the publisher of Chicago Tribune, according to people familiar with the matter. If the talks lead to a deal, Tronc would become the latest U.S. newspaper publisher to fall in to the hands of a private equity firm or hedge fund. Donerail Group has secured financing for the deal and is in advanced negotiations with Tronc, the sources said, cautioning that a deal is not imminent and there is no certainty an agreement will be reached. If a deal is reached, an announcement could come later this month, one of the sources added.

In other newspaper news: TV network exec Patrick Dolan has acquired the remaining shares of Newsday, becoming the sole owner.

Facebook Is Committing Another $4.5M to Initiatives for News Publishers

Facebook announced that it is pumping another $4.5 million into Facebook Journalism Project initiatives for news publishers. Global head of news Campbell Brown said Facebook will put $3.5 million toward the Facebook Membership Accelerator pilot program and contribute another $1 million into the 2018 NewsMatch campaign, which doubles donations to nonprofit newsrooms and promotes giving to journalism. Facebook will work with the Institute for Nonprofit News, Local Independent Online News Publishers, the News Revenue Hub, and “other stakeholders” to identify potential participants that can benefit the most from the program.

Meanwhile, a group of researchers and journalists are asking Facebook to change rules that restrict how journalists and scholars conduct research on the site.

SourceMedia Lays Off 14, Including Execs

At least 14 employees have been laid off at SourceMedia, the b2b publisher serving the financial, technology, and healthcare sectors, according to an internal memo obtained by Folio. The cuts appear to range from the senior level down to middle management. Departments impacted include editorial, sales, events, and facilities. The layoffs cap off a bumpy 12 months for SourceMedia. In addition to the CEO change, recent high-profile staffers to leave the company include VP of content sales Rocco Impreveduto, CFO Michael Caruso, chief product and audience officer Minna Rhee, and chief revenue officer Marianne Collins.

SourceMedia isn’t alone in decreasing staff; Pew Research reports the media industry is 23 percent smaller than it was a decade ago.

In Memphis, A Non-Profit Site Will Launch With a Staff of 25 and a Huge War Chest

Digital local news start-ups now number in the hundreds, but one taking shape for a fall launch in Memphis is different — and just plain bigger — in several ways. Poynter reports The Daily Memphian will begin life with a news staff of 25 and $6.5 million in seed money in the bank. Like many others, The Memphian is an opportunistic response to a shrinking traditional news operation — Gannett’s Commercial Appeal — but it also builds on an existing publication and has a publisher with 15 years of local experience. Founding president and executive editor Eric Barnes will transfer 10 staffers from his Daily News, a business, political and legal advertising publication. The site is set to go live with content this fall.

Another digital startup, the Colorado Sun, will launch in early September and cover that state in greater depth.

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Maria Perez is Director, Web Experience & Operations at PR Newswire. An animal lover, she curates content for @PRNPets – that is, when she’s not busy cuddling with her 10-year-old blind Maltese, Toody.

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