Monday, December 26, 2011

I changed my mind--I now think newspapers may NOT be doomed

I think I have been well within the conventional wisdom when it came to newspapers lately.  All seem to be hurting, and many long time banners have gone belly up, such as the Rocky Mountain News in Denver.  The statistics are pretty grim.  Ninety Two percent have lost circulation.  Over 10,000 newspaper jobs have been lost.  Print ad revenue went down by 30%--in 2009 alone.  And I do not see the tide turning on the sea change.  More people are more connected to instant news for free.  So why am I rethinking my position?  Simple.  Warren Buffet thinks that the newspaper business has a future.  Granted, his comment when asked about the shakiness of the current newspaper industry was not a ringing endorsement: "I wouldn't do this if I thought this was doomed to some sort of extinction."   But he put his money out to invest, and that's good enough for me.


Dave H said...

There are papers (and magazines) making money, but they're ones who have embraced the online world and are finding ways to make it complement the print medium. I imagine a lot of the big papers that are sinking are doing so because they either tried to ignore the Web, or tried to kill it.

Look at Eastman Kodak's history over the past 30 years. They did early research and had a ton of patents in digital photography, but it didn't fit their core business of selling film so they ignored it and later tried to squash it. Now they're so far behind they're sliding into oblivion.

2cents said...

You're probably right. There has to be a place in the market for the people who actually generate content instead of just purveying it.

Ken said...

Seeing as it's Buffett, maybe he's betting on the industry getting a state subsidy. He has raised the art of farming the government to high art.