Feb 22, 2013
Make no mistake: 2013, as your friendly newspaper realtors would tell you, is a great time to sell. The last 18 months have seen the greatest volume of deals in the last five years. And, why not: There’s a mildly up economy, all-access is bolstering revenue optimism, and heck, the Oracle himself, Warren Buffett, is buying newspapers by the dozen. The only problem for sellers is that prices haven’t moved much up. The newspaper market looks a lot like the nation’s housing markets: There’s a better balance of buyers and sellers, yes, but prices haven’t picked up much from their bottoms.
Still, for the Times Company, it’s time to let its impressive little brother go.Read More »
Feb 15, 2013
The New York Times Co.’s zero, in fact, is actually a milestone number. It’s the first increase, however meager, in overall revenues since 2006, when it managed a 1.8 percent increase in revenues…..Overall, the zero plateau provides at least the illusion of a resting point. A point from which to figure out how to find growth, or at least how not to go negative again. That’s the company Mark Thompson has inherited; his job: find life above zero.Read More »
Feb 8, 2013
Rationalizing the old printing business is one significant part of what’s going on in Columbus. Let’s look, though, at the deeper and wider newsonomics of the press-led innovation. The three-around change both supported the Dispatch’s new emerging, reader-focused business model and offered editor Ben Marrison the opportunity to reimagine the daily.Read More »
Feb 7, 2013
2012 is the first year in which circulation revenue has surpassed advertising revenue. Full-year, it’s now 51% of all revenues.
Especially given the continued ad decline, that majority revenue number is hugely important. It’s now the foundation of the business, and it gives the Times the only real stability it enjoys. As it becomes a larger and larger share of revenues, the ad loss — even if it continues — becomes a bit more manageable. One often-unseen point here: digital subscriber “churn” is lower than print churn; fewer readers cancel.Read More »
Feb 1, 2013
Aaron Kushner is the anti-Advance….Kushner and his 2100 Trust ownership group have taken a industry-contrarian approach since he took over the Orange County Register on July 25 — not even six months ago. It’s addition by addition. Addition of costs in the short run, aimed at the addition of both revenues and profits in the longer term. If there were a Pulitzer for getting the most done in six months, Aaron Kushner should win it.
Many publishers find themselves somewhere between the thinking of Advance (although they are hesitant to drop days for fear of sending the business into a fast death spiral) and 2100 Trust. The prevailing strategy across the country: Keep seven days of print, but also keep trimming, trimming, trimming.
Kushner’s Orange County play is watchable enough. It becomes even more intriguing if 2100 Trust should win in the upcoming Tribune Company auction. On that bid, Kushner restated his interest when we talked Tuesday, though with caveats. One big caveat is whether the Tribune sells off the Register’s neighboring L.A. Times separately, or as part a package of its eight papers.Read More »
Jan 24, 2013
The Tribune Company owns eight newspapers, six of them metros. Two — the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune — are in top 10 of U.S. dailies; five — adding in the Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and Baltimore Sun — are in the top 40, while the Hartford Courant ranks 60th. Their likely sale will be the single largest sale of metro newspapers in the U.S. since McClatchy bought Knight-Ridder in 2006.Read More »
Jan 21, 2013
Cultural misalignment. Reader misalignment. Merchant misalignment. Shopper misalignment.
Publishers searched for new models but came up short, and too many stayed the course as the world was changing. You can listen to Click and Clack and realize that lots of people, including publishers, drive ailing vehicles for way too long.
Now, though, finally, publishers and editors have been heading in for some repairs — clearly still bodywork in progress — and getting better realigned. Let’s call this the newsonomics of the body shop, the realignment of business models and mindsets.Read More »
Jan 11, 2013
How much do top-echelon journalists need media brands? How much do brands need top-echelon journalists? The timing of pay initiatives from Andrew Sullivan and from The Daily Beast will provide a great picture into those questions. One way we’ll see how that contest goes is in comparing the sign-up-for-pay rates for both. Sullivan’s The Dish make up about 10 percent of The Daily Beast’s uniques, and plainly has enough brand throw-weight to stand on its own. He’s already pulled in more than one percent of his unique visitors as subscribers — 12,000. They are paying on average $8 more than his minimum annual price of $19.99. The Daily Beast — essentially a digital magazine — will have a hard time charging much more than that, given how print magazines are priced. Of course, as a brand, it must maintain much more overhead than Sullivan’s merry band. Ultimately, this comparison will help us understand the real current value of prime office space, brands, marketing, audience development and technology departments, sales staffs — and top editors (the David Remnicks and Tina Browns).Read More »
Dec 21, 2012
Today, though, most of the reporting power, much of the brand power, and thepolitical power still resides in big companies and their leadership. We may well get our strongest display of that early in 2013: In Washington, the FCC cross-ownership debate may move to center stage in January. And around the same time, we’ll probably see the Tribune newspaper auction. As new Tribune CEO Peter Liguori, a broadcast exec, remakes the company as a TV/video shop (WGN America, here we come!), some of the most influential American nameplates — the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Baltimore Sun, among them — will all hit the market at one time. Though 2012 has been a time of unprecedented change, it may prove to be prologue to the year to come.Read More »
Dec 16, 2012
Dominate the Emerging Mobile World: UCLA’s Arvli Ward, long-time director of student media, has an ambitious, ahead-of-the-curve strategy — and he’s implementing it. His plan is to dominate the campus-related mobile space. “We want students to use 15 of our apps before they graduate,” he says. Ward has created an app farm, powered by 10 to 15 paid students and 40 to 60 interns. In less than a year, they’ve created 85 apps; Ward says his goal is three a week, starting in January.Read More »