“I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek. It was a mistake,” Barry Diller told Boomberg News today. Say it so, Barry!
Speaking to Bloomberg News correspondent Willow Bay, Diller said that the company decided to adopt the model “because printing a single magazine is a fool’s errand, if that magazine is news weekly.”
Diller continued, “There are some one off magazines that have no competition in their field, luxury magazines, where advertisers must advertise in them,” adding, “But for a news magazine — which is an odd phrase these days — news weekly, we have news instantly, and it was not possible to print it any longer.”
Rather than closing up shop altogether, Diller explained, “We said ‘okay, we’ll offer a digital product. We’ve got a very, very, very solid newsroom, and we’ll see.”
But he is far from optimistic about the future of the fledgling operation. “I don’t have great expectations,“ Diller revealed. “I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek. It was a mistake,” he said.
(I wonder what Tina thinks about that vote of confidence?)
Printing a liberal daily newspaper is also an increasingly expensive proposition as well. Or as John Nolte writes at Big Journalism, “New York Times Devolves into Luxury Product for Elite Few:”
The Daily Beast’s Daniel Gross deep-dives into the ongoing financial woes plaguing The New York Times. It is worth a read, but the observations I found most fascinating confirm a number of things I’ve previously speculated: That when the mainstream media erects online paywalls, they lose eyeballs, and with that political impact. Moreover, plummeting advertising revenues are part of a vicious circle likely to evolve into a vicious swirling ’round the drain.
Daniel Gross opens with this…
The future of good newspapers is expensive. The products that once were a metaphor for the democratization of information— remember the Penny Press?—are evolving into luxury products for high-end consumers.
…which is pretty much the only survival plan the Times can come up with, because….
Once upon a time, print publications essentially gave away circulation. The goal was to get the magazine or newspaper in as many people’s homes as possible and then turn around and charge advertisers a hefty premium for reaching such a large audience. That strategy was revealed as a loser when print advertising began to plummet, and fall, and then fall again.
Here is the vicious circle:
The media are left-wing and hopelessly corrupt in pushing their agenda. More than 50% of Americans, though, are not left-wing and know the media are corrupt and hostile towards them. But now, thanks to New Media, that portion of America is no longer enslaved by the media’s decades-long conspiracy to create an Ideological Monopoly.
The result is that customers go elsewhere, and fewer eyeballs mean lower advertising rates.
And at Reason, Matt Welch makes a great observation on how the New York Times‘ coverage, or the lack thereof, uniquely benefits from having three other large newspapers in the Manhattan region:
I’d take this a step further: Journalists from newspapers all over the country want to work for The New York Times, even if their byline never gets within 100 miles of Gotham. Regional newspapers everywhere pattern their writing, their subject matter, their mores, on the Paper of Record.
Well, here’s the problem with that: The New York Times is the product of a unique—and uniquely competitive—market. It already assumes that high finance and laissez-faire economics are covered by The Wall Street Journal. Crime, local shenanigans, and gossip are adequately handled by the Post and the Snooze. Newsday owns the suburbs. The vast majority of American dailies who ape The New York Times do not live in cities where whole swaths of their readership are properly served by other outlets.