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Internews Acquires Newsgain, Expands Global Efforts to Make News Organizations Financially Viable in the Face of COVID-19

September 9, 2020

Internews, the world’s largest media development and assistance nonprofit, has acquired Newsgain, a leading consultancy that provides business expertise to help news organizations become financially sustainable.

“As media face the potential ‘extinction event’ of COVID-19, we’re more focused than ever on innovative strategies to help independent, local media not only survive but thrive in the digital economy,” said Internews President and CEO Jeanne Bourgault. “As we work to build healthy information environments for communities around the world, the in-house skills and expertise of Newsgain will be invaluable to our partners.”

COVID-19 has decimated newsrooms worldwide, dramatically accelerating an already dismal advertising and business climate. In the past decade, the U.S. lost more than 1,000 local news organizations and roughly 250 have been shuttered in the U.K. With the onset of COVID-19, local advertising – the last lifeline for many outlets – has been cut in half overnight. Media organizations in countries outside of the G-20 have seen even deeper cuts, with Internews partners reporting declines of 75 - 90%.

To help salvage local media’s financial sustainability, Internews has increased its business consulting support to its partners through Newsgain. Internews now employs Newsgain’s audience analytics expertise, deep knowledge of business models, and digital advertising capabilities to assist a broad range of Internews media partners. It assists them more broadly in areas including strategic planning, audience development, revenue diversification, and brand management.

This deal brings to Internews a diverse team of senior media executives and managers who have worked with media organizations in more than 30 countries to strengthen business practices.

Newsgain’s work includes helping legacy media businesses, reliant on advertising, right-size and make the dual transitions to digital-only publication and generating income primarily from subscriptions. For media dependent on digital advertising, Newsgain routinely delivers programmatic advertising revenue gains of 200-400%, even in highly restricted environments.

Jason Lambert, co-founder of Newsgain, joins Internews as Senior Director of Media Business. As a media professional with more than 20 years’ experience in advertising networks, digital media, and technology, he has worked with media in development contexts since 2008. He has a track record of fostering digital adaption and increasing digital revenue for Newsgain’s partners.

Michelle Foster, another co-founder of Newsgain and formerly VP of Market Development at Gannett and a Knight International Journalism Fellow, now heads News Consulting Group (NewsCG.com), a new organization, and will formally act as a strategic partner to Internews. 

Both executives have played significant roles in United for News, a joint initiative of Internews and the World Economic Forum committed to transforming media markets around the world so that citizens, businesses and governments everywhere can benefit from the positive impact of high-quality, local news and information. Lambert now heads this initiative.

Lambert observed, “Newsgain joins Internews at a critical moment for news media. Countering the progressive erosion of business models, accelerated by the devastating impact of COVID-19 on advertising spend globally, key players across our industry need to work creatively to find and create success more often. Bringing Newsgain into Internews strengthens our ability to work at scale and deliver new solutions.”