What Cities You In? Some Better Than Others

One big trend we’ve noticed for both Yellow Pages and newspapers is a renewed emphasis on the dynamics of cities served. We used to worry all the time about local dynamics as city guides and others tried to figure out which cities had “the most cyber-savvy residents,” “the most recreational activity,” etc. As the Internet has become universal, local dynamics have become less important (aside from growth). But now it’s back.

McClatchy’s shedding of The Minneapolis Star Tribune for half of what it paid for it in 2001 is one example of this. The reasoning there, in part, seemed to be “The Twin Cities ain’t growing. Rather be in Miami.”

Some of the analysis is on the large city/small city differential. Deutsche Bank has a lot to say on the subject. “Characteristics of small markets that contribute to the small market/large market divergence include less competitive market dynamics, less exposure to national advertising, better circulation and a lower exposure to large national retail chains.”

Analyst Lisa Monaco at Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, has issued a “MetroTrends” report spelling out the best cities for media and commerce publishers, at least in terms of growth. According to the report, Seattle, San Jose, Miami, Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami are “up.” Meanwhile, Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte, Los Angeles and Denver are “down,” while Houston is “neutral.”

To Monaco’s team, that translates into Belo, Journal Communications, New York Times Co., R.H. Donnelley, Scripps and Tribune being “up”; McClatchy, Lee Enterprises and The Washington Post Co. being “down”; and Gannett and Journal Register coming in at “neutral.”

I am not always sure how this stuff applies to the local online ecosphere. But I find it fascinating.

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