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One Year In, New Owners Have Barely Scratched The Surface With Philly.com

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A lot has changed since local owners acquired the Philadelphia papers and Philly.com from McClatchy last year for about $562 million but the online revenue numbers aren’t hitting hoped-for heights yet. When Philadelphia Media Holdings took over, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Philly.com accounted for about $20 million, or 5 percent, of the company’s 2005 revenue, with 2006 ad revenue running about 30 percent ahead. Fast forward a year and CEO Brian Tierney tells AP that the online ventures still account for 5 percent of the revenue — about $25 million in annualized revenue — and about 20 percent of the profit. Based on the web ops of some other major papers make, Tierney said Philly.com, with 30 million monthly page views, should have revenue of $45 million. That would be the mission of recently arrived Philly.com president Eric Grilly, whose switch from larger MediaNews Group is perceived as a coup for Tierney.

One switch implemented before he arrived: Philly.com dropped CareerBuilder.com for Monster, which parlayed that first newspaper deal into a series of agreements. The online job company has said traffic to Philly.com’s career page rose 25 percent.

Philly.com: Tierney added a little more on Philly.com in an interview with the Daily News: “Online, I think our online business should double. That’s why we brought in the best of the business in [new president of Philly.com] Eric Grilly. … We haven’t begun to scratch the surface of what Philly.com can be on its own and what can the Daily News be on Philly.com.”