In Times-Dispatch, Mission One: Revenue finds a host that shares its goals


The Mission One: Revenue agenda over three days in June focuses with a fierce discipline on all the ways newspapers can generate more revenue—from legacy tactics like coupons to the opportunities in legal recreational marijuana.

So it’s fitting that Mission One: Revenue’s venue is at a newspaper that has demonstrated the same focus on cultivating diverse revenue streams.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, host for Mission One: Revenue from June 11 to 13, is a leader in innovative approaches to newspaper revenue.

Consider just the first few months of 2019: the Times-Dispatch hosted events ranging from civic concerns to honoring women, a spring “Taste of Richmond,” a beer tasting event to celebrate a documentary on the reporting of its roving correspondents Bill Lohmann and Bob Brown traveling the back roads of Virginia, and the rollout of a point-of-sale video newsrack.

That last initiative, the Virginia Video Network, or VVN, is a location-based video advertising opportunity for businesses to market to consumers on its standalone newspaper and periodical racks.

VNN combines video marketing technology and data to deliver ad messages to targeted consumers in high-traffic retail areas. At the time of its launch, Broderick Thomas, who had been the newspaper’s director of digital sales said VVN “expands the dynamics” of how the Times-Dispatch reaches the community.

“I’ve been an entrepreneur at heart my entire life, so the chance to launch a new business line for the Times-Dispatch was something I couldn’t pass up,” Thomas said. “The Virginia Video Network revolutionizes the way we provide valuable news content that our audience depends on, as well as the business solutions that we offer to our advertising partners.”

That same kind of entrepreneurship is reflected in the Mission One: Revenue agenda again and again. There is, for instance, the session with the provocative title “Booze, Pot & Gambling: Digging New Dollars From Debauchery!”

“Local businesses that sell vices to our audience—think legal recreational marijuana, sports betting and craft beers and spirits—are growing fast, and are coming soon to your state, if they are not there yet,” the session description reads. “These businesses have lots of money to spend, and urgent needs for advertising and marketing. In this session, hear from newspapers that have already developed innovative ways to profit from these ‘sin’ businesses.”

Mission One: Revenue—co-sponsored by Inland, the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and The Blinder Group—will also include sessions on how to get new revenue from legacy advertising.

A good example is the session led by Bill Ostendorf, the founder of Creative Circle Media Solutions, that revolves around classified advertising.

“Classifieds aren’t dead—they still provide a vital marketing vehicle for recruitment, real estate, automotive and services,” Ostendorf says. “But they do need changes to compete with the digital verticals that are relentless attacking the ad categories that once belonged exclusively to local newspapers.”

Similarly, Chris Stahl of Steinman Media, leads a session on how to use perhaps the oldest newspaper tactic—coupons—to bring in new business. Coupon business even now can be “super-charged,” this session promises.