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Two Indianapolis-based tabloids up for sale

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Longtime local publisher Ted Fleischaker recently put his two print publications—The Word and Up Downtown—on the market.

He’s asking $200,000 in a package deal for the two publications, which have a combined print circulation of 18,500. The Word, which launched in 1991, focuses on the gay community in Indiana and six other states and has an unpaid circulation of 9,000. Up Downtown covers happenings in downtown Indianapolis and Fountain Square and has an unpaid circulation of 9,500.

Both publications, Fleischaker said, have been profitable from the start, and posted combined revenue in 2013 of $134,000. The operations have no debt, he said.

The buyer, Fleischaker said, will get control of advertising contracts, the printing agreement, contracts for distribution points and distribution boxes, and "goodwill built up over the years."

“I think this is a reasonable asking price. Newspapers normally sell for two and a half to three times of annual [revenue],” Fleischaker said.

Both tabloid-sized publications are published monthly, with The Word averaging 64 pages per issue and Up Downtown 32. Both are full color. Fleischaker is the only full-time staffer, with content and photographs being supplied by a slew of freelancers.

Regular advertisers in the publications include English Ivy, Edward Jones Investments, Andy Mohr Chevrolet, real estate agent Joe Everhart, Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino. Fleischaker said he often sells advertisers combination deals to appear in both publications. Advertising takes up more than 50 percent of the space in both tabloids.

“We’ve built up a strong following over the years,” Fleischaker said. “And we have advertisers who want to reach our readers.”

Fleischaker, 64, said he’s ready to retire and devote more time to volunteer work. He also thinks his publications could be better served at this point by a younger publisher.

“I’m a motivated seller,” he added. “It’s time for the community to have a different voice.”

Fleischaker said he’s had some interest in the publications, but no serious offers. He hopes to have the sale complete no later than the end of the first quarter of next year. If he can't find a buyer, he said he'll have to contemplate closing the publications.
 

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  • Wow
    Wow... From his comments, Ted seems like he'd be a dream to deal with - surely someone will want to do business with him and buy his advertisers...
  • What cave are you in?
    OH, and to those who say they live downtown and never have seen either paper, I must ask which cave you reside in? The Up Downtown alone is in 23 of the big corner and also free-standing news boxes (Circle (2), Cultural Trail, Mass Ave, etc.), and at the rack inside Marsh in Lockerbie alone (by the checkouts and lottery machine) we hand out 1,000 plus each issue, not to mention our distribution at all the major Mass Ave businesses --- by Silver in the City, SubZero, Metro, etc.--- and all the major hotels (JW, Hyatt, Marriott, etc.) . If you have missed us since 1993 when we started then maybe you folks DO need to get out just a bit more --- Just sayin' as the younger set says!
  • Come along & see!
    Thanks for the comment which means you read the story. To respond, we DO keep count and if you (since you obviously KNOW more than we do as to what's recycled) want to see what is leftover we'd welcome you to meet us at recycling, which usually takes place mid-afternoon the day after new editions hit the streets. Last month that number was under 200 since you did not make it to see for yourself what you wrote about. Please get the facts and thanks!
  • Relevance
    A circulation of 18,500 in a city of over a million people goes to show how irrelevant this publication is......and the comments here from people living in his targeted areas that have never heard of these print documents validate that the time has passed Ted by.
  • Birdcage liner
    I've always thought both these publications made great bird cage liner.... He'll be luck to get $10K for them.
  • Valuation not current
    The idea that a print publication is worth 2.5x gross revenue in 2014 is not reflective of the world we live in. Neither publication has a strong digital component and is effectively a huge full time job for someone who might barely make $50k a year after expenses. Ted is better off just hiring some young dreamer to take the job on - and buy him out over time.
  • Niche Publications
    Both of these publications have been around for quite some time. Each one could be seen as pioneers for the audience and topic. Up Downtown shared content and opinion with readers LONG before Downtown was thriving. Same is true for The Word.
  • Keep dreaming
    Someone should ask Ted how many of his tabloids he picks up for recycling that were never read when he drops off the latest edition. It's not a pretty sight.
    • ???
      I live downtown and I also have never heard of either of these.
    • Never heard of these
      I have never heard of either of these

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