Business

Nov. 3, 2010 9:30 am

CEO: Inquirer to host startup incubator next year

Here's what incoming Inquirer publisher Greg Osberg pledges to do to reshape the Philadelphia Media Network, including launching a digital media incubator.

Philadelphia Media Network CEO Greg Osberg speaks at Temple University

On a night when dozens of political candidates were making broad proclamations about the future, Greg Osberg stood behind a lectern at Temple University to lay out his vision for the Philadelphia Media Network, the newly formed parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

The former Newsweek publisher and CEO of the Philadelphia Media Network was speaking as part of the Philadelphia Initiative for Journalistic Innovation, a speaker series hosted by Temple University’s journalism department.

“It’s going to take a couple of years to pull off this miracle,” he said of the current financial state of the company adding that, in the past five years, the company has lost half of its advertising revenue, 25 percent of subscriptions and 90 percent EBITDA.

After the jump, see eight proclamations Osberg made about the company’s future including his plans to house a startup incubator.

  • The sales department has reorganized to sell across all platforms instead of specializing by platform.
  • The company will launch an incubator on Jan. 1st that will house businesses focused on local. “I want us to find the next Foursquare and house it at Philly.com,” Osberg said. The newspapers will offer the companies free rent and allow the startups to test products on Philly.com.
  • The company will give quarterly cash awards to staff that submit innovative business or editorial ideas.
  • The editorial content of the newspapers and Philly.com will likely see changes. “I can’t tell you what the editorial mission of the Inquirer and the Daily News will be,” he said, “but I can tell you they will be different. The circulation trends are hard to ignore.”
  • Osberg says that the company will launch some sort of paid content effort – though we’ve heard that one before from former publisher Brian Tierney.
  • The company will release its first iPad application in November. The new app will be sports-focused.
  • The hedge fund that owns the company also owns other local media companies. Osberg says that he imagines lots of collaboration between these businesses.
  • The paper will eventually start “policing content on aggregators.”

Disclosure: The three founders of Technically Philly have freelanced  for the Inquirer and are Temple University graduates.

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Sean Blanda is an adviser to Technical.ly, the local technology news network, having cofounded its flagship Technically Philly in February 2009. He is a media consultant, engagement editor for Behance and lives in Brooklyn, NYC.

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