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Monday, June 30, 2008

Newspaper closures are inevitable, says US media analyst

From a Washington Post media piece about still-declining ad revenue and "hiring freezes turned to buyouts and then to layoffs" come these two rather grim quotes:

“Never in my most bearish dreams six months ago did I think we’d be talking about negative 15 percent numbers against weak comps,” said Peter S. Appert, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. “I think the probability is very high that there will be a number of examples of individual newspapers and newspaper companies that fall into a loss position. And I think it’s inevitable that there will be closures in this industry, and maybe bankruptcies.”
Slightly less bearish but no cheerier:

Since the fall, when Media General, the owner of a major newspaper chain in the South, set its 2008 budget, “We have pulled our thinking down twice with respect to revenue,” said Marshall N. Morton, the chief executive.

Over the next few years, he predicted, “There’s got to be some assimilation,” with some major American newspapers going out of business or merging. At the corporate level, he said, “I would guess that rather than bankruptcies, you’d see combinations.”

I read the story in a newsletter sent out by the INMA, The International Newsmedia Marketing Association, who can usually be relied on for good news about newspapers even while everyone else is muttering dire predictions. But it appeared alongside a slew of stories about cuts in newspapers in the US:
Even in Taiwan:
Just in case you were in any doubt that the newspaper business is in trouble.