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January 2, 2009 / Toby Dayton

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

In looking at the pile of headlines to catch up on regarding the daily newspaper industry, it’s obvious that December was another horrendous month for the daily newspaper business. Unfortunately, it’s going to be even worse in 2009 for them. But here’s one last pile of stories for 2008…

• The Seattle Times is freezing non-union pensions

• The most recent Pew Survey indicates that the web has, for the first time ever, overtaken newspapers as the more preferred source for news. This could be seen as a positive for daily newspaper web sites, but unfortunately, people are spending less and less time on those sites.

• The New York Times is selling its minority stake in the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park to raise cash. This is just the latest trend of the dailies selling anything and everything they can to generate some liquidity. The problem is, they’re selling at absolutely the worst time, and no one is buying anything. The NYT has even  registered to sell stock at a massive discount which will result is ridiculous dilution.

• Things are so bad, in fact, that some papers are even losing money on their classifieds. The Cincinnati Enquirer has reduced the number of days per week that it runs its classifieds section because the paper cannot generate enough classified advertisers to cover the incremental costs associated with that section.

• All in all, it was just a brutal year for the industry.

• And already, just 2 days into the new year, 2009 is proving that things can get even worse. AsianWeek newspaper announced that they are shutting down their newspaper. Just more proof of the adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same…