CEO: Gannett’s DealChicken shows how company is evolving

Gannett Co. Inc. began rolling out its daily deal business DealChicken last month, and today company chairman and CEO Craig Dubow explained to employees in an e-mail how the Groupon-like business fits into Gannett’s vision for the future.

NewsBizBlog obtained a copy of the e-mail:

I want to take this opportunity to give you an update on the strategic plans we are undertaking to position Gannett for long-term success.
 
As a 100-plus year-old news and information company, our footprint in our communities is solid and deep. That footprint widens as we build our news gathering businesses digitally and give our sales teams more tools to help solve marketers’ needs. Our goal is to ensure that we become even more vital to our communities, consumers and customers.
 
On July 19th, we shared with the Board of Directors the strategic initiatives that many of your colleagues have been working on since February. And I’m excited to tell you that the Board members enthusiastically supported the overall direction we are pursuing.
 
Before I give you a sense of where we are headed, I want to highlight the ongoing rollout of DealChicken, which is now live in 10 of our markets. We have feet on the street in these markets and communities; we are adding daily deals to the suite of marketing solutions we offer; and we know the local businesses’ needs, giving us the ability to effectively serve both merchants and consumers better than the competition. We plan to have DealChicken launched in 50 markets by year’s end.
 
The reason I focus on DealChicken is because it’s a good example of how we are evolving not only our business, but also our culture to do things differently and work together as one company. DealChicken is a business born of a local market innovation in Phoenix that leverages Clipper’s existing deal platform Double Take Deals, and is now rolling out nationally. It was approved outside our regular budget cycle. And the speed with which it went to market – about 30 days to develop a business plan and about 90 days thereafter to launch – exemplifies our commitment to becoming more nimble, collaborative and bold.
 
But let me get back to telling you about where we are headed. At this past Board meeting, several opportunities identified by your colleagues as part of our ongoing growth initiatives were discussed. Four got the green light and are moving forward: the USA TODAY Sports Network; the re-launch of our core digital properties starting with USATODAY.com; a digital video production center at WXIA (Atlanta); and the development of new local products and services for the advertisers we serve in USCP, Broadcast and Clipper.
 
Our plan is to spend the next 90 days further developing the business cases on other promising initiatives that resulted from these efforts, while simultaneously identifying the competencies and additional resources needed to build and execute on these plans. This next phase of work will be presented to the Board at our October meeting.
 
My commitment to you is to keep our lines of communication open so that you are kept abreast of where we are headed. Thank you for being at the forefront of delivering news and information as we continue serving all our communities.

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