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The good, the bad, and the ugly, Part II

The good, the bad, and the ugly, Part II

The print industry around the world is suffering. But more importantly, it is still surviving, Part II.

August 4, 2009 7:16 by

The industry is in such a state, that Warren Buffett, once a staunch supporter of newspapers as a business model, said in last month’s Berkshire Hathaway conference that he would not buy a newspaper “at any price.”

The trigger of this decline is almost always financial. There has been a dramatic fall in total US advertising revenue (16.6 percent in 2008) thanks to national economic difficulties. The situation has been exacerbated by declines in circulation, whichis underminingadvertising rates still further. The cause of this circulation collapse is a rapid shift in habits towards online consumption, encouraged – as in Europe -by many publishers’ decisions to put all their content online for free.All this has left numerous organizations on their knees; many of them plagued with high debts.

Big names caught up in the difficulties includeThe Rocky Mountain News, which, eclipsed by the Denver Post, finally shut down in February, after 150 years. The San Francisco Chronicle lost as much as $70 million last year, and it is possible the title will retreat to becoming just an online publication this year. The New York Times Company faces numerous difficulties, not the least of which is a reported $1.1 billion of debt at the end of 2008. These problems now threaten The New York Times‘ long-term health, and more immediately The Boston Globe.

And the Tribune Company, which publishes both The Chicago Tribune and The LA Times, as well as owning 23 TV stations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December.

First seen in Communicate magazine.

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