The Mating Sounds of Dinosaurs - Part 4

More woeful yelps from our inky friends
You can ignore the mating sounds of dinosaurs.

What is the future for the two Boston newspapers?

Winning ballgames doesn't equate to winning readership

Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Reds owner John Henry loquaciously explains in an Op Ed piece in the Globe why he bought the ailing, daily newspaper.

He can now ad Red Ink to his Red Sox and Red soccer team.

At one point he admits discarding his impulse saying "I began analyzing the plight of major American newspapers back in 2009, during the throes of the recession, when the Globe’s parent company, the New York Times Company, considered shutting down the paper... On the advertising front, print dollars were giving way to digital dimes. I decided that the challenges were too difficult, so I moved on."

Predictions of a newspaper's future

Mr. Henry would have been wise to continue to "move on" rather than invest in a media dinosaur. But he changed his mind about buying the Globe saying "So predictions about the future of newspapers are going to be wrong and I will not add to that. What I believe is this. TV didn’t put an end to movies or radio despite predictions to the contrary. And the free availability of news and classifieds will not put an end to newspapers. Newspapers are going to compete against an avalanche of information that should make reliability, trust, and hard work that much more valuable for audiences. Nevertheless, until revenues stabilize, newspaper resources will need to be allocated carefully, to build and sustain the economic foundations necessary to carry out the journalistic mission".

He adds, "I feel strongly that newspapers and their news sites are going to rely upon the support of subscribers to a large extent", but subscribers is exactly what the Globe and all other daily newspapers are losing in drove.

Over half the circulation has dropped since 1993

The New York Times purchased the Globe and the Worcester Telegram-Gazette in 1993 for $1.1 billion. Adjusted for inflation, Henry paid $70 million for the group, which is just under 4 percent of the original sale price.

According to the Alliance for Audited Media, circulation of the Globe on weekdays has dropped to 245,572 from 506,996 twenty years ago.

So we can't help thinking that investor John Henry is more than a little interested in the extremely valuable property upon which the Globe sits on Morrissey Boulevard as much as the newspaper itself.

Circulation = Readers = Ad Revenue

Circulation losses mean either a drop in ad rate or a drop in revenue, usually both. The reported advertising revenue for the Globe and the Telegram-Gazette, dropped 9.5 percent, to $44.4 million, compared with the same quarter in 2012.

Imagine if the attendance in Fenway Park dropped in half this season. You might agree that Mr. Henry would have a problem.

And now the Herald offers buy-outs to cut staff

The Boston Herald is currently offering more buyout packages to employees. It is looking to trim its payroll again, but it’s taking the voluntary approach this time.

This Fall the Boston Globe also trimmed payroll by laying off half its town correspondent staff, and the Providence Journal laid off eight people in its newsroom after not enough took voluntary buy-outs.

So whenever you hear stories about giant print media, you can pretty much ignore them.

They're simply the Mating Sounds of Dinosaurs.

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