Postmedia hires Olive Media president

Paul Godfrey tells MiC why Postmedia wooed Simon Jennings, and discusses the company's Q1 results.

There was an early 2012 publishing world shake-up this morning as Postmedia announced the appointment of Simon Jennings in the newly created role of chief revenue and digital officer.  Jennings most recently worked as executive VP of Torstar Digital and president of Olive Media.

Other people moves at Postmedia include the promotion of Wayne Parrish to COO. Parrish most recently worked as chief transformation and revenue officer. In his new role, Parrish will continue to oversee Postmedia’s transformation and business development, with the role now including all of the company’s newspaper operations.

Paul Godfrey, president and CEO at Postmedia tells MiC the addition of Jenning’s to the Postmedia exec team follows the C-suite changes the company made last fall.

“We professed from our inception that we would be a digital-first organization,” he says. “We wanted to make sure silos didn’t exist, and make sure we got someone who had a great track record in the digital field and was a great revenue generator as well. We didn’t have to look too far afield to find who we thought was the ideal candidate.”

Jennings will start at Postmedia at the end of the month, reporting to Parrish. Jennings’s role covers all revenues, in both print and digital.

Tomer Strolight, president of Torstar Digital tells MiC Olive Media is promoting Theresa Smith, VP product and Kristie Painting, VP, sales and marketing to become general managers at the company to takeover Jennings’s responsibilities.

Strolight says both Smith and Painting have been with Olive Media with Jennings since the company’s inception in June 2006.

The company also announced its first-quarter financial numbers this morning, citing a dip in print advertising as the primary reason for a drop in revenue for the period ended Nov. 30, 2011.

Revenue for the period was reported at $231.1 million, a decrease of $23 million from the same period last year. This was due to a decrease in print advertising revenue of $19.8 million for the period. Print circulation revenue also dropped $1.8 million and other revenue dropped $1.1 million.

Digital revenue was also affected by weakness in national advertising and dropped $300,000 from the same period last year, according to the report.

Godfrey says it isn’t known what percent the print ad losses from the quarter are due to the economy, and what is due to the structure of the industry.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that when the big banks are making record profits and laying off people that consumer confidence is going to drop,” he says. “You hope the economy gets better, but there isn’t much you can do about that, aside from drive through it and keep costs under control. If it is structural, if print ads are going to digital, you have to be there. We have laid the groundwork for a strong digital approach and have selected the leader in the field in Ontario, if not Canada, to lead us forward.”

During the quarter, Postmedia announced the sale of three daily newspapers to Glacier Media for gross proceeds of $86.5 million. The proceeds of this transaction will be used to repay a portion of a US loan.

Photo: Simon Jennings, at Olive Media’s 2011 customer appreciation party.