The Silicon Alley Insider reports today that Lee Enterprises is in deep shit– not exactly surprising. The newspaper chain, apparently, is down on both the print and web fronts, proving that the old media guard simply can’t figure out the media that is no longer new. But, the NY Times seems to be figuring it out slowly, with internet revenues up 12.8 percent for the second quarter and internet ads up 18.3 percent.
The real headline stat: 3,500. That’s how many newspaper jobs were lost since late May. McClatchy leads the march to the bottom, with 1,400 positions cut, according to the Silicon Alley Insider. Also, newspapers have collectively lost close to $4 billion in shareholder value … in July!
The media market is in an interesting place right now. On the one hand, newspapers are continuing their slow death. They seem to be kept afloat, in part, by the fact that the world is still figuring out how to make a financial success of delivering the news over the web. The technology is in place, but the business model is still being refined. While smaller news outlets may be able to pull it off, the large media firms need to find a way to replace declining print revenue and grow the web in a way that not only breaks even but continues to deliver net growth.
We’re still not there yet.
Once the business issues sort themselves out– with the help of a few savvy entrepreneurs and natural market forces– the newspaper decline will accelerate. The only question is: what’s coming next?