News Corp/Dow Jones
Jun 13, 2013
No longer is Gannett a newspaper company with broadcast and digital assets. It can now be thought of as a broadcast company with major newspaper and digital assets.Read More »
Jun 6, 2013
The new board’s mandate, of course, is to maximize its take on the sale. Tribune newspaper profits run at the roughly $200 million level, maybe a third of which comes out of L.A. So, take the market multiple of 3 or 4 times that number as a price — or $600 million-plus — for the eight papers, even though underfunded newspaper pensions put a drag on that number. Then, if the inflamed passions, stoked by the Koch bid, produce a higher selling price, so much the better.
The board clearly is aiming for a single deal. One deal reduces transaction costs and deal risk, and speeds closing. So who’s likeliest to play in a single auction for the eight Tribune papers, which also include two non-metros in Newport News, Va., and Allentown, Penn.?
The likeliest four: the Brothers Koch, Rupert Murdoch, the B group from L.A. (Eli Broad, Ron Burkle, and Austin Beutner, a well-connected trio of moneyed liberal lineage), and Aaron Kushner’s 2100 Trust.
For the Kochs, the purchase would be a seem to be an extension of their political wars by other means. Of course they protest that notion, and the only track record we have to go on is their profound influence on conservative activist American politics over the last several years.
Murdoch’s L.A. TV licenses come up in 2014, so the cross-ownership issue is immediate and real, and with the FCC in appointment limbo, he’ll not get the waiver relief his lobbyists had hoped to win by now. Flip a coin and I say Rupert goes with his gut and bids.
If he indeed goes for the Times (and other titles, if necessary), consider that Murdoch couldn’t ask for a better competitor than the Koch Brothers. No one’s out in the streets protesting a Murdoch takeover of the L.A. Times or Chicago Tribune. Even Koch opponents whisper that Murdoch would be better — the gray, if not white, knight, to the black hats of the Kochs. It’s a new parsing in the post-Sam Zell era: How do you judge potential ownership these days, except on a relative basis?Read More »
Apr 25, 2013
As the Times Company readies its sale of the Boston Globe (at the Nieman Lab today, I further explore the sale of the Globe and Tribune metro properties), it’s clear the Globe is underperforming the Times. It was down 6.7% in overall revenue, as its reader revenue lost 1.9% and advertising declined 10.1%. Two takeaways here: 1) the new owners of the Globe face a tough challenge in getting back to growth, given those numbers; 2) as the Times emerges as essentially a standalone entity, its own reader revenue strategy looks better. Without the Globe, it was up 8.2% in circulation dollars.
The national ad market movement from print to digital may be faster than the regional one. As Gannett, the largest newspaper company reported yesterday, it announced a 4.5% decline in ads. Gannett’s ad revenue is more heavily tilted to retail advertisers,, whose movement from print to digital is slower than either classifieds (largely gone) and now national. Significantly, Gannett, also reported a 14.5 percent increase in local market circulation revenue.
In sum, paywalls are working, but will they be enough to turn the industry from red ink to black?
Mar 8, 2013
Why paywalls now? Why weren’t paywalls put into place in 2007, or 2002, or 1997?
Might such paywalls have prevented the massive loss of reporting that local papers — and local readers — have suffered? Would they have saved a good number of the more than 15,000 newsroom jobs (a 28 percent decline since 2001) that have evaporated? Might the global bureaus of the big metros been spared? Would regional business news coverage be as robust as it was in the 1990s? Would investigative units be off the endangered species list?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 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 »
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 »