Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hey, Mac! Wanna Buy A Paper Cheap?

Remember When Owning A Newspaper Was A License To Print Money? So Do Many Publishers. Unfortunately, You Can't Pay The Bills With Nostalgia

You knew things were bad in the newspaper industry. But Alan Mutter shows us just how bad, at least in the view of Wall Street.
Bad, as in publicly traded newspaper companies losing 42 percent of their market value since 2004. That's not a typo.
And the carnage would have been even worse, if you discount the premium Foxy Murdoch paid for Dow Jones' stock, which jumped 65 percent.
One persistent thorn in the side in newsrooms has been that until very recently, investors didn't give a crap about increased competition and lower circulation. They were accustomed to 15-25 percent returns, and even if that meant bringing in some trained seals and outsourcing your sports coverage to Bangalore, by gum, that's what they were going to get.
Now such returns are all but unattainable at most companies. The question remains, do investors care anymore? Judging by the market values, it looks like so many have headed to the exits that now publishers can focus more on treading water than appeasing shareholders.
Of course, treading water has never been a solid business model. So, now may come a few spare moments to figure out what to do next.
There are no easy answers. For now, let's just hope there are some answers, period.

1 comment:

Jim of L-Town said...

Love the article and am going to link to it from my blog, which is also media related.
Stop by and let me know what you think.....
I just ended a 30-year reporting career with a buyout from the Flint Journal.

Jim Smith