|Founder||Samuel L. Slover, Frank Batten|
150 Granby Street|
Norfolk, Virginia 23510-2075
|Frank Batten Jr., Chairman, President and CEO|
Dominion Enterprises |
Landmark Community Newspapers
Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC (a spinoff of Landmark Communications, Inc.) is a privately held media company headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia specializing in newspaper publishing, Internet publishing, software and data centers.
Norfolk Newspapers was founded in 1905 as a holding company for the newspaper properties of Samuel L. Slover. They included papers which would eventually become today's Virginian-Pilot.
Frank Batten, Slover's nephew, took over the company in 1955, and changed its name to Norfolk-Portsmouth Newspapers Inc. in 1957 (reflecting the merger of the Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch and Portsmouth Star), then to Landmark Communications in 1967. It became Landmark Media Enterprises in 2008. Landmark is controlled by the Batten family.
Landmark owns over 120 community and special-interest newspapers in 16 states. That includes seven publications that cover college sports at Florida State University, University of Florida, Indiana University, University of Iowa (Voice of The Hawkeyes), University of Nebraska, University of Kentucky and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and two daily newspapers: Citrus County Chronicle of Crystal River, Florida and The News-Enterprise of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
Landmark owns Dominion Enterprises, which runs classified advertising websites such as Homes.com for several sectors, including real estate, vehicles, travel, franchises and businesses for sale. Dominion also provides software as a service products to real estate agents, auto dealers, and motorcycle dealers.
The company also owns Expedient, a leading provider of data center (colocation), private and public clouds and managed data network services. Expedient has data centers in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Boston, Baltimore, Columbus, Indianapolis and Memphis.
One of Landmark Communications's holdings was TeleCable Corporation, a cable television service that began in a small Virginia town in the late 1950s. Landmark was able to get franchise licenses to operate in about 2 dozen cities, mainly throughout the eastern half of the U.S., including Overland Park KS, Plano & Arlington TX, Bloomington IL, Racine WI, Springfield MO, Wytheville VA, Princeton VA, Selma AL, as well as a number of other cities. TeleCable was a progressive company; the concept of HBO 2, Disney 2, Showtime 2 being created in OP KS. Prior to the 1980s, technology was such that you could only get 12 channels on a CATV system. TeleCable built 2 CATV systems over each other in OPKS when the franchise was granted in the late 1960s. Each customer had an A/B switch at their TVs so they could select either cable A or cable B. This gave TeleCable of OPKS twice as many channels (24) as other CATV companies. With advances in technology, TeleCable of OP was able to offer 48 channels instead of 24. In the early 80s, there were very few satellite offerings, and the big movie channels went off the air at 10 to midnight daily (later on the weekends). Customers complained to TeleCable of OP that they missed the starting of the 7pm movie because of the working late, dinner, kid activities etc. The management contacted HBO, Showtime, and Disney to ask permission to put the east-coast satellite feed of their programs on the central time zone operation. They were going to charge the customers that wanted this expanded service, another 50 cents per month. The movie channels laughed and said "OK, who in their right mind would pay it?" After several months, they had the full attention of the HBO, SHO, & Disney; thousands were signing up. All this did for customers was provide a one hour earlier start for movies. But HBO and SHOW soon decided to create completely separate services for those HBO2, MAX2, and SHOW2 channels. Disney did a few years later.
Landmark's predecessor, Norfolk Newspapers, first entered broadcasting in 1930, when it bought Virginia's oldest radio station, WTAR. It later added Virginia's second television station (and Hampton Roads' first), WTAR-TV (now WTKR) and an FM station (now WVKL). It acquired WFMY-TV in Greensboro as part of its purchase of the Greensboro, North Carolina newspapers in 1965. However, U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cross-ownership rules forced Landmark to sell off WFMY in 1976 and WTAR-TV in 1981. Under the rules, Landmark could not own both a newspaper and a television station in the same market.
Landmark was an owner of KNTV in San Jose, California from 1978-1990. During its 12-year ownership of the station, KNTV (then affiliated with ABC and serving the Monterey / Salinas media market) was its only station that was not an affiliate of the CBS network. Landmark also briefly owned WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, but was forced to sell it immediately due to FCC restrictions. Landmark owned The Travel Channel from 1992 to 1996, when it was sold to Paxson Communications.
The company owned Chicago magazine from 1990-1995, when it was sold to Primedia. At one time, Landmark owned a minority share of the Washingtonian magazine, until its rights were traded to Eleanor Merrill, widow of its publisher Philip Merrill, in exchange for full ownership of the Annapolis Capital and five other Maryland newspapers.
Landmark owned the hobby publisher Antique Trader Publications until its sale to Krause Publications in 1999. In December 2001, Landmark announced it would close its subsidiary Church Impressions, based in Greenville, North Carolina, which published church directories, portraits, and other print and web media products.
Landmark used to own four career training schools that focus on health-related career education: Glendale Career College, Certified Careers Institute, Nevada Career Institute and Virginia Career Institute.
On September 19, 2007, it was announced that Continental Broadband (CB), a Landmark Communications (Landmark Media Enterprises) company, sold its South Florida business unit, WebUnited, to Host.net, the leading provider of data center (colocation) and managed network services in Florida. On May 15, 2009, it was announced that CB sold its Chicago business unit, ANET, to Cogent Communications, a global Internet service provider. On January 23, 2010, it was announced that CB sold its Richmond Business Unit, NET Telcos, to Cavalier Telephone, a full-service provider of telecommunications solutions.
In early 2008, the Landmark confirmed that it was exploring the sale of the entire company. Two separate investment banks, JPMorgan Chase and Lehman Brothers, were hired to help with the sale of The Weather Channel and the newspapers.
Landmark's best-known media outlet was the Weather Channel, based in Atlanta, Georgia. As part of its divestiture, the company announced in July 2008 the $3.5 billion sale of its Weather Channel properties, which included its share of The Weather Network and weather.com, plus Weather Services International and MétéoMédia, to NBCUniversal and the private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. Landmark and NBC Universal completed the sale on September 12, 2008.
On July 14 of that year, it was announced that WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee would be sold to Bonten Media Group, but that sale did not close. Landmark eventually sold the station to Journal Communications in 2012.
Landmark sold the News & Record newspaper in Greensboro, North Carolina to Berkshire Hathaway on January 31, 2013. In May 2013, Landmark sold the Roanoke Times, the metropolitan newspaper serving Roanoke, Virginia, also to Berkshire Hathaway.
CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, was acquired by Landmark in 1978 from a trust left by Howard Hughes upon his death. On November 21, 2014, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it planned to purchase KLAS for $145 million. The sale closed on February 13, 2015.
In 2016, Dominion Enterprises sold Dominion Marine Media (BoatTrader.com, YachtWorld.com, Boats.com) to funds advised by Apax Partners. The company is now called Boats Group.
In 2017, Dominion Enterprises sold Dominion Web Solutions (CycleTrader.com, RVTrader.com, CommercialTruckTrader.com, EquipmentTrader.com) to Eurazeo and West Street Capital Partners VII, a fund managed by the Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division. The company is now called Trader Interactive.
In 2008, Landmark announced that it would terminate its pension fund, which covered some of its retirees and current employees. The plan was fully funded. The pension beneficiaries were able to choose between a lump-sum distribution or an annuity provided by an insurance company.