*Freedom combines 2 Spanish-language weeklies: The publisher of two longtime Spanish-language weeklies in Southern California said last week it would combine them into a single title. Freedom Communications Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif. -- publisher of Santa Ana's Orange County Register and The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif. -- said it would launch Unidos en el Sur de California on March 21 and end the 21-year-old Excelsior (published by the Register) and the 15-year-old La Prensa (published by The Press-Enterprise). "When compared to Excelsior and La Prensa's existing circulation," said Freedom in a statement, "total circulation for Unidos en el Sur de California will expand by more than 100,000 to 323,476, which includes copies distributed to Orange County Register and The Press-Enterprise subscribers who request it." Freedom also said it had named Orlando Ramirez as publisher of the new Spanish-language weekly; Ramirez had been editor of La Presna for the last decade and earlier was an editor at the San Diego Reader and Copley News Service.
*McClatchy unit adds new tech: Tru Measure, the Denver-based advertising metrics company that is a division of The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, said last week it had signed a deal with Simplifi Holdings Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, for Simpli.fi to integrate its programmatic marketing and performance-reporting tools into the Tru Measure platform. Tru Measure services are resold by media companies and newspapers to small- and mid-sized businesses throughout the country. "The integration of Tru Measure and Simpli.fi provides our advertisers with a more efficient means of reaching their target market," said Christian Hendricks, McClatchy's vice president for interactive media. "This allows our sales teams to focus our marketing consultation on designing marketing messages that will best engage those consumers." Tru Measure was founded in 2009 by refugees from MediaNews Group and the Denver Post and was acquired last year by McClatchy. Simpli.fi was founded in 2010 and said in December it had completed its Series B funding at $16 million.
*Buffett mum on newspapers: The annual report for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. -- which owns 30 U.S. daily newspapers and a handful of weeklies -- hardly addressed the issue of newspapers in its 2013 annual report, released last week. While Chief Executive Warren Buffett's "chairman's letter" from company's 2012 report, was chatty about how the company got into the newspaper business, newspapers were only mentioned in 2013 as a circulation report. When comparing the 2012's circulation to 2013's, an analysis suggests daily circulation at Berkshire papers declined 5.6 percent, while Sunday circulation was down 6.9 percent. In other Buffett news, Bloomberg News reported last month Berkshire was seeking to change its relationship with Graham Holdings Co., the company formerly known as The Washington Post Co. Bloomberg said the two companies were discussing a swap of assets or of shares. Berkshire closed on Friday at $183,772, up 5.8 percent for the week, while Graham shares were down 2.2 percent for the week, at $702.86.
*A.P. provides sports 'micro-sites': Most newspapers didn't have the resources to constantly update Winter Olympics results on their web sites, but many did, with the help of The Associated Press. The news cooperative has been providing publishers (and other A.P. customers) with small sports web sites ("micro-sites") that can be customized by the publishers' with their own logos and other options, for two years. The A.P. sells ads for the micro-sites and then splits the revenue with the publishers. The focus on last month's Olympics in Sochi, Russia, said Poynter.org, meant an uptick in users of the service. Though the wire service staffs the micro-sites with "about six editors," throughout the day, much of the operation is automated, "removing much of the manual labor of creating a comprehensive web package," said Poynter. "We built these things to be complimentary to what a newspaper is already doing," The A.P.'s Paul Caluori told Poynter.
*Wash. Post to open NYC tech office: In an effort to gain "accelerated innovation by embedding engineering with sales in dynamic and vibrant New York City," the Washington Post said last week it would open a new design and development office in Manhattan and would add more than a dozen new employees. The paper said it had great success putting an engineering group in the newsroom and now wants to do the same with advertising. The Post, purchased last year by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has had a sales office in downtown New York for a number of years. "We believe that the future of advertising sales is about the integration of engineering and ad innovations," said Kevin Gentzel, chief revenue officer at the Post. "This is a real opportunity to evolve the industry and create advertising experiences our readers want to engage with."
*GateHouse, Calkins cooperate: The marketing services division of GateHouse Media LLC, Quincy, Mass.'s Propel Marketing Co., and Calkins Media of Levittown, Pa., said late last month they had entered into an agreement for Calkins to resell Propel's products and services. Calkins, which publishes dailies in the greater Philadelphia market including the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer of Doylestown, said it had started a new digital marketing agency to offer these services, Calkins Digital Solutions. "We are looking forward to combining the power of our deep understanding of doing business in this region with Propel's cutting-edge services," said Mike Jameson president and general manager of the Philadelphia Region of Calkins Media. "For our clients, the result will be affordable, turnkey and, best of all, hassle-free digital marketing services." GateHouse launched Propel in early 2012.
*Belo grants dividend: Directors of Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp., said on Thursday that those owning shares as of May 16 will receive an eight-cent-per-share dividend on June 6. Only Belo -- which publishes the Dallas Morning News and Rhode Island's Providence Journal -- Gannett Co. Inc. and The New York Times Co. pay shareholder dividends; as recently as Spring 2008, as many as 10 newspaper-related companies made shareholder payouts. Belo shares closed at $11.60, up 5.1 percent for the week on Friday, against a fractionally declining NewsInc. Index and the S&P 500 gaining one percent.