In the role of publisher, investors discovered that lowering overhead typically reduced costs at a faster rate than it drove down revenues. Many papers shrank. And their profits went up. In that kind of business, you can put some leverage on. If you ignore that the industry showing signs of ill health under its new minders has been deemed so essential to the nation that it was enshrined in the First Amendment, then these practices, straight out of the Wall Street playbook, seem unremarkable.
Abernathy said. The hedge-fund-controlled publishers GateHouse Media and MNG are now among the four companies that own the most newspapers in the country. And MNG made efforts to buy the other newspaper chain among the big three, Gannett — which is now in talks to merge with GateHouse Media. Alexia Quadrani, an analyst at J. But at the end of the day, it is in decline. Journalists at one newspaper that suffered particularly drastic job cuts — The Denver Post, an MNG publication — made news last year when they rebelled against their bosses by publishing a six-page special opinion section blasting their ownership.
MNG declined to comment for this article, but the company has defended itself by noting that it has saved papers like The Boston Herald and The Orange County Register from bankruptcy. GateHouse also did not respond to requests for comment. There may still be a way forward for metropolitan dailies interested in providing communities with deep coverage while also making money, one that means investing print revenues in digital growth while acknowledging that the days of 20 percent profit margins are long gone.
The Seattle Times, for one, has recently increased digital readership and print revenues, according to its president, Alan Fisco, thanks to the stewardship of the Blethen family, which has owned the paper since the 19th century. Blethen, Mr. We make money to publish newspapers.
Doctor, the analyst, pointed to Hearst Corporation, whose papers include The Houston Chronicle and The San Francisco Chronicle, as a solid owner, because it is private and holds other assets with excellent profit margins.
Jeffrey M. Johnson, the Hearst Newspapers president, said his group had increased profitability in seven of the previous eight years while maintaining aggregate newsroom head count. Hearst papers and The Seattle Times share a common strategy of raising prices on print subscriptions in order to subsidize investments in digital. Does this strategy have a sell-by date? The outlook for print, after all, is poor. As recently as , the Sunday print circulation of newspapers in the United States totaled more than 60 million.
Last year, Pew estimated, that figure was Only a few newspapers have arrived at the safe harbor of bringing in more absolute revenue from digital than print. A paper like The Vindicator, a year-old daily in Youngstown, Ohio, is less of an outlier.
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It recently announced that it would cease publication on Aug. Luciano, the columnist in Peoria, said he was concerned about the fate of The Journal Star, not to mention comparable dailies in cities like Muncie, Ind. Marc Tracy has covered college sports for The Times since Log In. A Paradox at the Heart of the Newspaper Crisis. Supported by. Hedge Fund Journalism The job of top editor has lost some of its old luster in this era of job cuts and hedge fund ownership.
Source : Own elaboration based on model results. Exemplary revenue, costs, and profit development for an average regional newspaper. In this model the way online content is handled has no substantial impact on the revenue situation. Finally, with a cost model profit margins can also be simulated on a ten-year horizon. The latter statement holds true for a variety of assumptions on how digital versions of the newspaper are marketed including a pay wall or freemium models as practiced in Germany and beyond.
The ratio of fixed and variable costs is taken as the average of actual values of newspaper publishers who applied the model to their specific context see above. We expect these ratios to be a better basis for modelling as a more refined breakdown of publishers costs. However, for the next five years they could still be profitable as they move from double digit margins.
In the long term, diversification and substantial business model innovation is inevitable. With the project presented in this contribution we pursued three goals: setting up a model suited to study the diverse challenges of the newspaper business model by comparing alternative scenarios with an emphasis on audiences across platforms; then analysing the situation of German newspaper publishers in international comparison; and finally generalizing from the model results for Germany as a case in point.
The modelling approach allows to systematically analyse the net effect of very different developments, in particular the integration of demography and age specific media usage that cannot be anticipated by just regarding aggregated values. The model enables a comparison of extreme assumptions concerning print-online substitution and the pick-up of new end user devices respectively. On the basis of different consistent scenarios, the sensitivity to various factors affecting the profitability can be derived for individual newspaper titles as well as generically for a certain category of newspapers like regional dailies as elaborated in this contribution.
For doing this, the model requires starting values for the dependent variables like circulation, revenues or costs and applies growth rates based on assumptions for future developments on them. In principle this modelling scheme based on a distinction of age groups is applicable also to other media. Tests with altogether six newspaper titles across three publishing groups and over a period of four years confirmed its potential. However, ultimately it is only a model with certain functional relationships that fails if the latter are prone to structural change.
It proved well suited for answering the question whether digital media will compensate for losses in print over the next ten years. The model results for Germany in particular also shed more light on the challenges of newspaper publishing in general. Germany is not an exceptional country with regard to the challenges of the newspaper business.
It shares the fate of all mature economies, albeit with a certain time lag in print-online substitution compared to peers with a more encompassing internet penetration like the UK. Newspapers in developing or newly industrialised countries will still have some hope for growth as the market potential for print is not yet reached and substitution effects do not yet show up substantially for a relatively small internet usage base.
With print readership shrinking, advertising moving to other online players, and the only modest success with the own digital products around traditional editorial content, one has to ask: what remains for newspaper publishers to do in order to stay in business? In any event they will still have to work on their online operations and smartphone as well as tablet editions, i. Such strategies are spurred on by recognition or, in some cases, by hope amongst media managers that opportunities exist both to derive new revenues and to improve the management and cost-effective exploitation of media resources see also Doyle Most newspaper publishers are just realising that their current strategic manoeuvres are not sufficient.
Apart from major publishers i. Axel Springer, Hubert Burda Media the medium-size and smaller publishing houses have extreme difficulties to uncover capabilities beyond their strengths of producing content and struggle with new ventures usually entrusted to traditional newspaper people. However, in any case additional revenues have to be generated on the basis of new business in order to stay profitable. Besides that, costs may be cut by exploiting synergies on a larger scale. Understandably, publishers increasingly strive for growth by mergers and acquisitions.
However, cost cutting reaches its limits as additional platforms rather cost extra — with only limited synergies and that not much room to manoeuvre is left after years of cost cutting and streamlining. After all, substantial reductions may only be achieved by rethinking editorial processes. Even leading publishers are still struggling to achieve the integration of content production staff and digital specialists needed to promote innovation and, in turn, the development of effective new business models for the digital multi-platform era Doyle Associated difficulties in doing so remain considerable Doyle These results relate to earlier work on the necessity, as well as the difficulties, of newspaper firms to generate new revenues in the digital environment and to perform successfully Krumsvik , Picard , Tang et al.
In our opinion, an essential path to counter losses in the traditional business model is shown by larger German media companies cf. Among such assets for newspaper publishers are their roles in market making, in guiding purchase decisions, or in using online as well as print audience reach to scale up start-ups more rapidly than new pure online players. Most newspaper companies, however, do not yet embrace digital media in such an encompassing way and hence let go of potential revenues see Christensen et al.
At the least most German publishers have ignored external developments for a long time, overestimating the sustainablity of their strengths. There are plenty of assets or competencies respectively to tap. Whether this is easier to achieve for small publishers than for large media companies remains to be seen. The latter probably have an advantage triggering further concentration as a consequence.
At least on a regional level, newspaper publishers provide an essential information channel in Germany like in other countries and hence a necessary link to participate in the democratic process.
Circulation 101: U.S. Newspaper Terms for Paid and Business/Traveler Circulation
Consequently, their offerings not necessarily the incumbent publishers themselves are essential for the functioning of Western democracies and the political system as a whole Habermas , Nielsen et al. Hence, more than a business model is at stake with newspapers not being in short-term turmoil but having already entered a persistent crisis. Later, he gained an additional PhD in social anthropology. Castulus Kolo gathered professional experience in consulting and applied research with an international management consultancy and the German Fraunhofer Society — eventually as board member of its consulting spin-off.
In , he became member of the board of directors of the corporate venture of a major German publishing house, being responsible for business development. Throughout his management career Castulus Kolo continued academic activities as lecturer at several universities on innovation management, media and ICT. In he became professor and in chair of media management at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Munich, where from he Vice President for Academic Affairs.
His research is published in international journals and is focused on the preconditions, the diffusion as well as the effects of media innovations at the intersection of economy, society and technology. Besides his academic activities Castulus Kolo still works as a business consultant and is founder of the foresight institute Future Directions. Achtenhagen, L. Balancing tensions during convergence: Duality management in a newspaper company. Afuah, A. London: Routledge. BDZV Boczkowski, P. Multiple media, convergent processes and divergent Products: Organizational innovation in digital media production at a European firm.
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Using the web to create and investigate a large corpus of modern Norwegian
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Journalism Studies 9 5 : — PwC — PricewaterhouseCoopers German Entertainment and Media Outlook: — Frankfurt am Main: Fachverlag Moderne Wirtschaft. Global Entertainment and Media Outlook — Media Perspektiven 5: — Schlesinger, P. From organizational crisis to multi-platform salvation? Creative destruction and the recomposition of news media.
Siles, I. Making sense of the newspaper crisis: A critical assessment of existing research and an agenda for future work. Spyridou, L. Journalism in a state of flux: Journalists as agents of technology innovation and emerging news practices. Statistisches Bundesamt Demografischer Wandel in Deutschland. Wiesbaden: Statistisches Bundesamt. Tang, Y. The bricks that built clicks: Newsroom investments and newspaper online performance.
Taylor, J. Is the multiplatform whole more powerful than its separate parts? Measuring the sales effects of cross-media advertising. Teece, D. Business models, business strategy and innovation. World Press Trends Wirtz, B. Business Model Management. Design — Instruments — Success Factors. Gabler: Wiesbaden. Business models: Origin, development and future research Perspectives. ZMG Frankfurt am Main: Zeitungs Marketing Gesellschaft.
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