Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tech 101 | As goes NYT Digital, so goes Gannett's?

Blogger Henry Blodget, the former technology stock picker, offers a sobering analysis of chances that The New York Times will ever be able to support its newsroom on digital revenue alone. Answer: highly, highly unlikely.

"Overall," he writes today, "we think the odds are better than even that about half the folks in the NYT's newsroom and other print news will need to find another job (or career) within five years. We're certainly not rooting for that. But we do think it's the reality."

Note 1: The NYT is widely reported to spend $200 million a year to run its  approximately 1,100-person newsroom.

Note 2: Gannett's non-digital businesses -- mostly, 100 daily newspapers in the U.S., U.K., and Guam, plus 23 TV stations -- generated a combined $98 million in digital revenue during this year's second quarter, according to the just-released financial report.

[Image: today's NYT, Newseum]


  1. Five years sounds like a pretty tight timeline, but it's hard to argue with the basic reasoning. I would guess 10 years ... assuming a modest economic recovery.

    If we go into a double dip recession he may be dead on with that five-year figure.

  2. It's no shock that a digital "paper" will sustain fewer news gatherers than a printed version.

    It seems to me that Gannett's consolidation moves are simply a transitory phase. The company will save a few bucks in the short term, and be better positioned to downsize its local operations in a few years.

    Yep, we're looking at only a few more years of print.

  3. How creditable should Blodget be?
    He was charged with fraud by the SEC in 2003 and settled for $4M. He got caught by Eliot Spitzer in 2002 when the former NY AG released emails Blodget wrote about his Merrill Lynch stock picks that conflicted with his publicly published ones.

  4. Local Journalism is going to be dead... Certainly papers with circulation the size of a Lansing Journal or Monterey Herald die. The bigger question is what happens to papers like the Boston Globe, Detroit News, Arizona Republic, Chicago Sun-Times, etc. Can these metropolis/megaopolis papers find ways to keep printing or not? Wall Street Journal, New York Times, (and possibly if Gannett can get their act together) and USA Today then truly become "the nation's newspaper" and can afford to continue some sort of operation. Will it be as large as print? Probably not.

  5. Quality weeklies, and by that I mean ones with hard news coverage of close-to-home issues, may likely replace the standard small-market daily.

    I really think there's a future in weeklies as long as they can deliver more than fluff and filler.

  6. Plus, print weeklies can leverage the advantages of dailies, by developing newsy websites.

  7. Municipalities are beginning to promote their own "Shop Local" businesses on their websites. The local business ads are absolutely "FREE."

    Below is one example:



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