Will your only local daily become your only local weekly as well?
50,000 circulation daily buys 4,500 circulation Barnstable Patriot
In Tuesday's Cape Cod Times Publisher Peter Meyer is quoted as saying about his purchase of The Barnstable Patriot, ''Frankly, if there are other quality weeklies available on Cape Cod, we'd be interested in talking with them as well.''
The Boston Herald today reported Mr. Meyer saying The Times will keep the editorial operations of the Patriot separate in order to ensure "independent" voices saying "We know how people typically respond to this" type of merger. He added the papers will share advertising and circulation resources. This of course will give the Times-owned Patriot a significant advantage over the other weeklies on the Cape which raises concerns in the industry about an impending media monopoly here.
It is one thing for the 800-pound gorilla in any media market to own another out-of-market weekly like the Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror versus starting to buy up the rest of their on Cape competition which seems clearly the Ottaway plan. Given the fact that "regional dailies" are media dinosaurs and only the "community press" is prospering, this is an intelligent way for Ottaway to stay healthy.
When the previous owner of The Patriot, Barbara Williams who owned the cape's oldest weekly for over 70 years, sold to Rob Sennott in 1992 she had already rebuffed offers from other newspapers interested in buying her weekly. She is quoted in The Times story below as "not wanting it to become part of a newspaper conglomerate or chain."
It appears Rob Sennott had no such reluctance.
What else does The Times own?
The Times, which itself is part of the Ottaway Newspapers which is owned by Dow Jones Company, publishers of the Wall Street Journal, already owns another local weekly, the Nantucket Inquirer-Mirror where the former owners daughter, Marianne Stanton remains as publisher after many years. That weekly's editorial independence appears intact. Ottaway also owns the nearest other daily, The Standard-Times in Southeast Massachusetts.
Our daily also made a foray into magazine publisher this year when it launched Cape View in direct competition with Cape Cod Life, Cape Cod Magazine and several others.
A decade ago The Times entered the "Mature Reader" market segment (29% of the Cape's residents are over 65) when it started publishing PrimeTime, which competes with Vitality and another newspaper called Seniority which shortly later closed down.
Is The Chronicle next on Peter's shopping list
A few months ago the publisher of the Cape Cod Chronicle, Hank Hyora, was contacted and asked if he would like to sell-out by Kirk Davis the top honcho at Enterprise Media in Quincy which owns the Patriot Ledger, the Brockton Enterprise and MPG Communications in Plymouth.
When Peter Meyer got wind of this he too called Hyora to offer to buy that weekly which covers the Lower Cape towns of Chatham and Harwich.
The free press belongs to the man who owns one
If The Chronicle goes to either of these media giants there will be only two local newspaper publishers left on Cape Cod - Alex Ritchie of the Provincetown Banner and Bill and Elizabeth Hough of the Falmouth Enterprise which also publishes editions in Sandwich, Mashbee and Bourne.
The fast dissappearing independent press on Cape Cod.
The following is a partial list of the weekly newspapers which have either been bought out by other media companies and closed or combined in other mastheads in the last decade or so. Numbers 2-9 were victims of the Community Newspaper Company:
The story in Tuesday's CC Times story on the purchase is in the post below this one.
The complete story in today's Boston Herald is available here.