Belmont Club

Newspapers in crisis

The American Press Institute held a summit of newspaper CEOs to discuss ways of saving the industry. Yes things are that bad. Here’s an excerpt from the API site:

The daily newspaper industry stands at a precipice. Rocked by declining print circulation and advertising, disruptive Internet technologies and competition from a variety of new players and industries, the traditional bedrock of American journalism faces a classic change-or-die scenario. Whole swaths of the American populace have abandoned newspapers or are growing up without the habit of reading them. And while the Web sites of news organizations are attracting more readers than ever, the online advertising business is nowhere close to making up for the steep slide in print.

At the core of the newspaper’s problems is a decline in the money stream. Their traditional, revenue-generating print vehicles are dying. And they haven’t figured out a way to make money off of the Internet. It’s not just a newspaper problem, but the big flagships of journalism have enormous fixed costs which combined with declining revenues are dragging them into the depths.

A few days ago, the Observer noted that the NYT’s share values had fallen to another 52-week low. “The plunge comes a day after the Times announced that its New England newspapers had declined in value by $166 million, more than the $100 to $150 million that C.E.O. Janet Robinson had projected in a conference call last month. … It’s unimaginable, in a way, that the Company’s stock has fallen so far. At the beginning of the year, the company’s number was consistently in the high teens, and hit a high of $21.14—and that was considered low back then.”

How long can it go on?