Portland Daily Sun newspaper acquires MaineNewsSimply.com

Posted Nov. 01, 2013, at 2:46 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Daily Sun, a free daily newspaper, has acquired MaineNewsSimply.com, a statewide news aggregator, for an undisclosed price.

Mark Guerringue, publisher of the Portland Daily Sun, confirmed for the Bangor Daily News on Friday that he has signed a letter of intent to acquire MaineNewsSimply, though the deal has not closed.

“There’s nothing formal yet, but we have a basic agreement,” Guerringue said. “It’s really a story of two alternative media outlets getting together and creating a critical mass in Portland. Both are small, obviously, and Portland is a huge media market and very competitive. We think by merging the Daily Sun and NewsSimply we’ll be better prepared to take the next step.”

Stefan Williman, who founded MaineNewsSimply three years ago, confirmed for the BDN that he is selling the business to Guerringue. MaineNewsSimply has a website, but its main products are daily email newsletters that aggregate news stories from media outlets around the state.

Guerringue, who lives in Conway, N.H., launched the Portland Daily Sun more than four years ago using a business model he has employed elsewhere. He also publishes three other free daily newspapers in New Hampshire: the Conway Daily Sun, the Berlin Daily Sun, and the Laconia Daily Sun.

The Portland Daily Sun currently has a daily print circulation of 13,000 papers, he said. Its revenue, driven by advertisements, is increasing, though he declined to provide further details.

“We’re finding success in that it’s growing. Is it successful? I’d say we’re not there yet,” Guerringue said, adding that his other three papers needed at least three or four years to find traction in their markets. “As small as we are, we’re probably the only print paper growing revenue in Maine. While we’re tiny, we’re heading in the right direction.”

Readers of either media outlet won’t notice much change beyond some cross promotion and sharing of content, Guerringue said.

He said the Portland Daily Sun will be introducing a new business section to its paper, called Beyond Business, which will include a staff-written story along with press releases and blogs that MaineNewsSimply currently carries. He considers it “reverse engineering” the model that’s being used more and more by online news outlets to carry combinations of news articles and blogs.

“We think this is innovative,” Guerringue said. “Free dailies as an alternative solution has proven to be successful, and adding MaineNewsSimply in the Portland market is a twist to that. We’re excited to see what happens with it.”

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