NOLA Media Group and Alabama Media Group will become part of a new regional media company across Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi that will accelerate its audience and revenue growth in the region.
Ricky Mathews, president of NOLA Media Group, which operates NOLA.com and publishes The Times-Picayune, will continue in that role and will also become president of the new company, the Southeast Regional Media Group, when it launches later this year.
David Francis, currently Executive Vice President and Associate Publisher at NOLA Media Group, is being named Executive Vice President and Publisher of NOLA Media Group. “I’m looking forward to having such a strong partner in David,” said Mathews. “He is a native New Orleanian from a renowned New Orleans family, he is passionate about Louisiana and the New Orleans region in particular, and he has been a significant leader in our digital efforts.”
“It’s an honor to be asked to be publisher of the premier media organization in my hometown,” said Francis, who joined The Times-Picayune in 1995. “It’s especially meaningful to me at a moment when our city’s potential feels unlimited, as our Future of New Orleans project is showing. I’m proud to be a part of NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune, with its central role in this community, its journalistic excellence and its position as a market leader in multimedia advertising solutions.”
Tom Bates, President of Alabama Media Group, will continue to be based in Birmingham working closely with Mathews. Alabama Media Group is the operator of Al.com and publisher of The Birmingham News, the Press-Register in Mobile and The Huntsville Times newspapers in Alabama. It also operates Gulflive.com and publishes The Mississippi Press in Mississippi.
Mathews said NOLA Media Group and Alabama Media Group have become the dominant players among the region’s digital media.
“Since launching our new digitally-focused companies in 2012, we have enjoyed explosive growth in our digital audience and revenue in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi,” he said. “We have produced high-impact, prize-winning journalism in service to our communities and are committed to remaining the premier journalistic watchdog in the region. Thanks to the outstanding work of our journalists and sales professionals in the region, we now reach more than 13 million people a month online – an increase of 150 percent and significantly more than all of our competitors combined – and have aggressively expanded our advertising base.”
Besides Francis, key executives joining Mathews and Bates in planning the new company will include Jim Amoss, VP of Content for the NOLA Media Group, and Michelle Holmes, VP of Content for Alabama Media Group. Their respective newsrooms will share best practices and work together on occasional enterprise projects, but will continue to operate separately and independently from each other. Other executives joining this effort are Natalie Pruitt, Vice President of Sales for Alabama Media Group and Reggie Marable, Executive VP of Sales for NOLA Media Group.
“Our plan is to work together to find operational efficiencies while also investing in growth opportunities,” said Bates. “There are no plans to change the printing or delivery schedules of any of our newspapers in New Orleans, Alabama or Mississippi.”
Randy Siegel, President of Advance Local, which oversees NOLA Media Group and Alabama Media Group, expressed his confidence in “the tremendously talented teams in these markets. We strongly support everything they’re doing to build our increasingly digital future. It’s not an easy road, but the media landscape is changing rapidly and we need to keep investing and evolving as well.”
In a related move, Pam Siddall, the President of Advance Central Services, Inc., has announced the combination of ACS LA and ACS AL into the newly formed Advance Central Services SE, which will provide circulation, production, finance and human resources services for the Southeast Regional Media Group. Kevin Denny, who has been Vice President and General Manager of Advance Central Services Oregon, is taking on the role of Vice President and General Manager Advance Central Services SE and will be relocating to Mobile over the summer. Denny will continue to advise ACS Oregon.
“I’m thrilled Kevin is taking on this new role,” said Siddall. “His commitment to our mission, his collaborative leadership style and his passion for creative problem solving makes him uniquely qualified to lead these markets.”