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Newsmedia Economic Action Plan Conference

This is the first page for notes and links to the American Press Institute's two-day convening: "Newsmedia Economic Action Plan Conference" on Sept. 14-15, 2009 at API in Reston, Va. These notes are authored by Bill Densmore

8:30 a.m. session: Opening by Andrew Davis

"This is still a $50-billion industry," says Andrew Davis, president and executive director of the American Press Institute. "We are still a compelling medium and we don't have to apologize." Ad revenues are down 30% but television advertising is down more. "We are still spending almost $6 billion a year on the news product." Newsrooms are still about 11% of the total budget of newspapers. Davis suggests he is not sure that the overall percent of revenue newspaper companies will get from the Internet will ever rise to much more than 10% of total revenues.

In Europe, research shows that newspapers do attract younger readers, but their readership level trails off as they get older, Davis said.

In the future, newspapers will have to become the "complete community connection," says Davis, and more of a marketing-services firm to local businesses and consumers.

Davis: "AP had a story on governor Sanford. There were 20,000 unlicensed uses of that story on sites that were charging for advertising." Davis says there is adequate legal protection for copyright protecting the news.

Davis:A Kindle costs about $300. It costs the Washington Post about $280 to manufacture and delivery one newspaper to one customer for a year. Kindle takes 70% of the revenue from the 20-some odd newspapers that are now partners with Amazon. Most of that goes to Sprint or the wireless network and the 30% of the revenue that newspapers are getting, Amazon says, is actually a greater share than what Amazon gets.

Let's say it's 30% of the revenue. The Washington Post could buy Kindles and give them to all their readers and the ROI would be three years. "I think those economics are huge . . . it's still black and white and there are some other technical challenges, but I think we can get there."

"You're hear because you are influencers in your organizations." Davis says the goal of the two-day event is for these influencers to leave with ideas for action. "Use the next day and a half to come up with what's to be done." "I'm an optimistic person. The economy is going to come back. We've rolled out our expenses. I think we're poised."

Mary Glick's overview of how the two days will work

Mary describes the roundtable structure of the room. There are about 35 people in the circle, and about eight discussion facilitators. Among the participants who are introducing themselves: