October 15, 2007
PRSA recently caught up with former PR man and now chief executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings, Brian Tierney, who put together PMH with local investors to buy the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. Some interesting nuggets (to us, at least):
Know the market
I would not have done this in another part of the country. I did this because I knew these papers very well, having been the [city's] largest advertising agency. And I knew that the core of the problem here – and I don’t want to say that I’ve got some answer for the entire industry, because I don’t, and I would never want to run one of these huge companies that is in 38 markets. That’s a big challenge. But here I saw the gem . . . you know, this is the fourth-largest market in America. It’s a healthy market.
Murdoch and other influential owners meddling in editorial decisions
If he starts manipulating the news he’s going to devalue the [paper]. We faced that a little bit, people saying, “Oh, well you guys manipulate the news.” And I said, “We have several billionaires in my group. I’ve had a certain amount of financial success as well. We’d be pretty stupid to take the asset that we have, which is the editorial integrity, and screw around with that.”
The $2.50 paper
I think that the printed product will be around 10 years from now. It may be that instead of being 50 cents a day, it’ll be $2.50 a day because I think the price of the product is very low.
Ok, so we don’t know about that last one. But it makes us wonder, if people are willing to shell out a few bucks for their favorite mag, will they do it for a newspaper as well? The NY Times raised its Sunday price to $4 and no one blinked. Hmmmm.
Tierney is a keynote speaker at PRSA’s International Conference, which takes place in Philly from Oct. 20-23. Will you be there? If so, remember to keep the tips flowing our way.