Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Strapped publishers skip NAA dues

In another sign of the growing stress on the newspaper business, four publishers are not paying their dues this year to the Newspaper Association of America, the industry’s principal trade group.

Lee Enterprises, MediaNews Group, Copley Press and Omaha World Herald each told the NAA they cannot afford to pay their dues for 2009, officials of the association confirmed today.

The NAA promptly stripped the publishers of their rights to receive email newsletters, participate in online forums and partake of other services designed to encourage best practices among members.

The association said lapsed members would receive member discounts if they already have registered for the marketing and technology trade show the association is hosting in March in Las Vegas. The decision to extend discounts to the lapsed members probably has less to do with accommodating them than with trying to boost attendance for a conference whose attendance is seriously lagging.

The trade show, which is called MediaXchange, is a one-stop conference that combines a marketing conference and the old Nexpo technology show. The events have been scheduled for a single time and place in the hope of making it less expensive for newspapers to send representatives.

So far, it’s not working. Registration for MediaXchange is down 40% this year from where Nexpo was in 2008, said Sheila Owens, the vice president of media relations for the NAA. Nexpo attracted 1,588 participants in 2008, or 24% fewer visitors than the 2,088 who attended in 2007.

The problems being experienced by the NAA are not unique. The World Association of Newspapers, a European-based trade group, “postponed” a conference it had scheduled for March in Hyderabad, India. The organization said it hopes to move forward with the event in December.

The belt tightening in the industry has affected the NAA, too. Recognizing the straitened circumstances of the industry, said Sheila, the NAA last year “reduced revenue from dues by 25%, costs by 30% and staff by 40%.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trade associations and newspapers have a lot in common. They are both "information" and "networking" organizations, but have failed to capitalize on the growing networks and information pools that have gown up without them.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you been to one of these industry events recently? It's like sitting shiva. Everyone talks about how great things were when advertising was alive, and how stunned they were when it died.

5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a readership/subscriber building standpoint, NAA is impotent. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association ("Beef, it's what's for dinner") and The California Milk Producer Board ("Got Milk")are shining examples of what industry associations should and can do for their constituents. NAA is the poster child for how to fiddle while Rome burns.

If they haven't already done so, the publishers who did not re-up with NAA will quickly realize the wisdom of their decision.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NAA is following the ill fated AP model of pricing, forcing publishers to take an all or nothing approach to membership. Why doesn't it offer a menu of membership levels with different options, allowing members to choose what services are important to them?

8:08 PM  

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