It’s hard to believe that we’re already past the mid-year point in 2022. I’m happy to report that we continue to post game-changing results with revenue, cash flow and audience growth.
Year-To-Date Performance Highlights
- In comparison to prior year, cash flow +107%; total revenue +58% and total advertising revenue +97%. With our net debt leverage at .48X, this is a strong signal that our playbook to grow organically and through acquisitions is working.
- Total digital revenue +102% vs. prior year, 30% of total advertising revenue and a gross margin of 72%. It’s exciting to see our digital revenue grow as a % of our total revenue through real growth and not because of print erosion.
- Total advertising revenue on a same store comparison vs. prior year is +21%. Results settling at +14% in May and +12% in June are strong.
Caleb Anderson, VP of Sales, Joe Mathes, VP of Digital Strategy, and everyone that plays a role on our sales, fulfillment and support teams are winning. The hard work and day-to-day activity to drive results and growth are quite impressive. Our Sales Team is 5-1 (lost January) at the mid-year point of a 12-game season and very well positioned to finish 11-1.
Earlier this year, Joe Mathes spearheaded the launch of our Preferred Business Sponsor program to grow recurring, content marketing revenue. Advertisers receive lots of unique value for their investment, including SEO backlinks, an online directory, excellent content about their business and exclusivity in their business segment.
In April, we launched OMGHired, a new recruitment solution in each of our markets through a technology partnership with Recruitology. We’re excited about revamping our digital and print presence as the go-to source for local jobs.
On April 1, we completed our 11th acquisition since forming O’Rourke Media Group in late 2018. The integration of The Guide and Sussex Printing in Delaware has gone exceptionally well, and we’re exceeding pre-sale proforma expectations. We’ve welcomed and onboarded an excellent group of employees in each functional area of the business. In June, Michele Swain, who has worked at the Guide over the past 20+ plus years in a number of different roles, was named General Manager of the business.
In Las Vegas, we shifted our publishing frequency from Wednesday-Friday to just Friday. Phil Scherer, Maria Sanchez, Cynthia Fitch, April Morrell, Gabe Myers and Adrianna Crespin really nailed it with this plan. We were transparent with readers and advertisers on the reason for the change and stayed focused on providing an improved print newspaper. We’re now providing more local news on Friday than we were on Wed-Fri combined and the paper looks fantastic. Early results have been very impressive—advertising revenue in June was higher than before the change, reader generated paid sales and revenue was relatively unchanged (we kept HD pricing the same but increased our store price), and we have a much lower cost base. Just as important, our team is able to put more focus on growing an already healthy online audience.
We tell quite a different story in the Editorial segment of our business at a time when you read something negative just about every day about news deserts and local newspapers dying. We continue to invest and strengthen resources in our newsrooms and editors and reporters are rising to the challenge with keeping readers and communities informed with engaging, original, hyper-local news. We were successful in recruiting and hiring five new reporters of which three were incremental compared to how many we had on the team at this point last year. We also added 10 new freelance contributors in the 1st half of the year. The strength of our regular print publications, the support for niche products and the online page view growth (+70% vs. the same period prior year) demonstrate how well each team is performing. And, I just love this “Newsletter from the Newsroom” that Bridget Higdon curates with our Editors and Reporter each month. Here’s the link to June Newsletter from the Newsroom: June 2022.
In the first part of this year, we moved forward with developing internal marketing plans and custom-written blogs to strengthen and improve the O’Rourke Media Group brand and to generate advertising leads from local businesses. It’s great to see this effort starting to gain traction. Joe Paul, Megan Ivey and Hey Sarah have been instrumental in making this happen. Here’s a link to check them out Blog – O’Rourke Media Group .
In conclusion, it’s been a very busy year. Let’s keep pushing hard to continue on our growth track and, as always, to prepare for the unexpected headwinds that could always come our way. Enjoy the rest of the summer, and I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the 2nd half of 2022! In the meantime, feel free to reach out directly to me anytime with feedback, questions, ideas or suggestions for improvement.
Your hard work and dedication to the success of our Company is truly appreciated.
PS. No added pressure to our Sales Team to finish the 2nd half undefeated…