We are quickly approaching the end of our current fiscal year (June 30, 2011). Despite efforts to reduce our operating expenses to offset the decline in revenue, sustainable revenue growth continues to elude us. As a consequence, we are compelled to take further steps to meet our operating goals. Today, we are announcing the following actions:
1. Suspension of Vacation Accruals beginning this coming Sunday, May 15, 2011 and running through July 2, 2011. This action will not impact any vacation time that you have earned or vacation time that you have planned. Further details follow below.
2. Mandatory Five-Day Furloughs to begin May 16, 2011 and to be completed by July 2, 2011. The five-day furloughs may be taken weekly or daily increments as scheduled with your supervisor. However, exempt employees who chose to take unpaid furlough days rather than vacation, the unpaid furlough days must be taken as a full-week within the same pay (calendar) week period. If you have any available vacation time, you may use up to five earned vacation days to substitute for up to all five furlough days. Further details are provided below.
With respect to the temporary suspension of vacation accruals, please understand a few important
1. During the 39 day period from May 15, 2011 through and June 30, 2011, you will be earning fewer vacation days than we all had anticipated during this fiscal year. As an illustration, those employees with an annual vacation benefit of two weeks will earn 1-1/2 fewer days. Those employees with a three-week benefit will earn 2-1/4 fewer days. Those employees with a four-week benefit will earn 3 fewer days.
2. You will not lose any vacation time already earned/accrued, but not used through May 14, 2011.
3. You are encouraged to use any vacation time you have already accrued, subject to advance request to and approval by your immediate supervisor. Any vacation time used between May 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011 can be credited toward any of the five furlough days.
4. Accommodations will be made for employees with pre-approved vacations whose vacations balances are adversely impacted by this change. Specifically, with supervisor approval, those employees may be permitted to incur a negative vacation balance.
With respect to the five-day furloughs, please note the following:
1. Furlough days may be taken in weekly and/or daily increments (see Mandatory Five-Day Furlough description presented above) and all days must be scheduled in advance with your supervisor. Exempt staffers must take their furlough days during the same pay week. Exempt employees may combine vacation days with his/her furlough BUT within the same pay (calendar week).
2. Up to five furlough days may be taken as vacation days but such an option is voluntary and must also be scheduled in advance.
3. Supervisors will be asked to extend every reasonable consideration as to when an employee would prefer his/her furlough days to be scheduled and taken.
4. As a modest offset for those employees who are included in this furlough action, we are offering those employees up to five, additional paid holidays to be used during the coming fiscal year. You will be provided a list of twelve additional paid holidays from which you may chose five (5) to be scheduled and taken. Any of the five days must be scheduled and approved by the employee’s supervisor in advance. Those “bonus” holidays must be taken on the specific holiday date. However, accommodations will be made for those employees for whom that date does not coincide with a regularly scheduled work day. Lastly, an employee must be actively employed on the specific holiday date to be paid for that day (excluded are persons who are absent from work due to an unpaid leave and those who have left the employ of the company). Further details will be forthcoming from our Human Resources staff.
Although the temporary suspension of vacation accruals and the furloughs are not welcomed, they are both the less disruptive means of reducing our operating expenses. We also continued freeze the hiring for some vacancies in an effort to avoid more painful actions and have already consolidated some jobs where it has been prudent to do so. However, today's action does not preclude other cost reduction measures including and not limited to reductions-in-force. At this time such actions will likely be limited and will continue to be an expense reduction alternative until the economy and our performance measurably improves.
As expressed in the past, we regret any inconvenience this action may cause you but until our financial challenges are clearly behind us, such actions are necessary.
Thank you for your understanding, continued hard work and dedication.
Just a heads up that we’re planning to make a fairly significant change to all of our websites in the very near future: We’ll be switching our commenting functions from Topix to Facebook. BANG is already doing this on insidebayarea.com, and it’s a substantial improvement over what we have here in that it makes commenting much easier, and by linking the comments to users’ Facebook accounts, it cuts down the more objectionable anonymous comments. While the traditional thinking is that requiring registration or real names with comments reduces traffic, insidebayarea.com has actually seen an increase in traffic and referral traffic from Facebook.
We’re confident that we’ll also see an increase in traffic, especially since our structure pushes users off of our site to Topix, and we don’t accrue the value of that traffic at all.
I’ll provide more information as it comes in. We’re partnering with BANG on this and still working out some of the details and tracking mechanisms we’ll be using to implement this and measure the results.
ALSO: By the end of the day today, we will have submitted all mobile news apps to the app store for approval. In the coming week, we’ll be assigning control panel accounts to site managers and transferring control of the apps to each property. I’ll reach out separately to online editors to share more information about this as well as our preliminary work on tablet apps.
Enterprise Media is now the new official name of our Company, replacing the name ‘Press-Enterprise Company’. This is a name change only and our Company remains a wholly owned subsidiary of A. H. Belo Corporation and publisher of The Press-Enterprise, our daily newspaper.
Since that announcement Sales and Marketing have taken steps to begin using the ‘Enterprise Media’ name and logo on sales presentation materials and business cards for the sales staff. As a result some of you may have noticed and perhaps are wondering what it might mean for our Company and you; so I want to take this opportunity to share with you what I announced to our sales force at the September General Sales Meeting.
This change in our Company name has been planned for some time to ensure our business is seen by our clients as keeping pace with the significant, rapid and dynamic changes that are happening in the media industry. It also is aligned with the long-term vision for our business to reflect the innovation, new directions and forward-thinking multimedia strategy that our Company is actively pursuing. We have expanded from being a newspaper company to become a diversified media company. It’s now time for our customers to know us as more than a newspaper company as well.
The name Enterprise Media describes and defines who we are as a company. It effectively conveys our position as a future-focused media company; a leading and digitally savvy, multi-media news and information content provider. It is a name that will impress and influence our advertising and business-side clients to change their minds and attitudes about who we are.
This change is important because the name ‘Press-Enterprise Company’ does not align with our strategy. It is inextricably tied to our daily newspaper, ‘The Press-Enterprise,’ and it does not communicate to our customers the size, scale and capabilities of our multi-media product portfolio.
In the B2B environment with our advertising clients, particularly major regional and national advertising customers, the name ‘Press-Enterprise Company’ is tied to their past experiences with a newspaper company and it evokes attitudes and perceptions that are:
· One-dimensional. It causes our B2B clients to see us as a one-product company; in their minds, one that has limited, if any, value for their needs. Reality is we are so much more as a business partner.
· Geographically limited. In the minds of our B2B clients our Company’s market and audience reach is limited to the geography of our newspaper circulation area. Reality is that our sphere of influence and audience extends well beyond the geographic area our newspaper serves.
· Institutionally bound. It says “newspaper” which means “inflexible,” “high rates,” and “old media” to advertisers who are looking for new ways to reach their clients using social media, mobile, and more. We want our name to convey that we’re playing in that space too.
Importantly, we also want our new Company name to visibly reflect our heritage; so we deliberately retained the word ‘Enterprise’ in our new corporate name to symbolically confer the legacy of our Company’s heritage, credibility and reputation onto our new B2B brand name and logo. The word ‘Media’ is intended to encompass our entire portfolio of media products and the new and dynamic world of digital media.
Enterprise Media is a brand name that visibly makes the statement to our business clients that we are a very different business from ‘Press Enterprise Company’. Our new B2B brand is:
· Multi-dimensional. Our Company is a multi-media, multi-level news and information content provider reaching a dynamic, growing consumer audience via a wide range of media products.
· Customer-focused. Our Company provides 360° media solutions for our advertising clients through customized media and marketing programs that reach target audiences.
· Innovative. Our Company is a diversified, best practice media organization known for innovation, speed-to-market, audience growth, and ongoing investment in new multimedia products.
Enterprise Media is poised to become the Inland Region’s multimedia leader in the business-to-business environment when it comes to advertising and marketing in the new digital media age. Accordingly, the commercial/business-facing departments that serve and support our B2B client relationships and our corporate responsibilities – Advertising, Interactive, Finance, Marketing and HR – will adopt and use the Enterprise Media name on their business cards, presentation and promotional materials, etc.
Enterprise Media is not replacing our Company’s core newspaper product The Press-Enterprise or any of the other strong, credible media products/brands that we produce. Accordingly, those consumer/community-facing departments that serve and support our consumer/audience relationships – News, Circulation and Operations (production, press, I&P, transportation) – will continue to use The Press-Enterprise and PE.com names on their business cards, presentation materials, etc. And, of course, our colleagues at our ancillary products will continue to use La Prensa and The Business Press on their business cards, sales materials, etc.
Enterprise Media provides innovative media solutions to our clients that cost-effectively target and reach their most desired customers and consumers through the advertising and promotional power of a multimedia product portfolio that delivers a vast, unmatched and growing audience in the Inland SoCal Region. No other media organization in the Inland Region has:
· A bigger or more talented content and local news staff. Enterprise Media has more knowledgeable and skilled reporters and editors than any content company serving the region.
· A more proven and committed team of successful sales professionals. Enterprise Media is ranked 23rd in the entire country for Yahoo sales.
· Superior local audience growth and reach. Enterprise Media reaches more than 1.4 million people in Inland Southern California and has been recognized two years in a row as one of the top 25 media companies in the country for audience growth.
· More prominent or more powerful local brands. Enterprise Media’s portfolio includes The Press-Enterprise, PE.com, La Prensa and laprensaenlinea.com, The Business Press and bizpress.com, i-GUIDE, HSGametime.com, InlandSoCal.com and e-mediawaves.
· Deeper or stronger connections with communities and clients. Enterprise Media serves thousands of local clients and residents, hundreds of communities, and vast numbers of civic groups and charitable organizations and who live, work, shop and play in the Inland Region.
I hope you’ll take as much pride in our new name and look as I do because it truly reflects the results of all the hard work, determination, dedication and numerous contributions that each of you has made to move us into this new age of digital media; and it retains and builds on the heritage and values that are exemplified in our core product, The Press-Enterprise.