I guess when you’re rich you can do what you want

Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal has just raised Obama’s subscription price to the WSJ: to $600,000 a year. Probably more politics than economics behind this, the perennial risk of proprietor owned media that has a political axe to grind. Still, as an investor I would wonder about the business sense behind this.

J-Source, July 29 2010


NY Times hikes price, whacks union

The daily copy of the New York Times has gone up one third, to US$2, in an effort to offset ad losses. Hmmm, paying for content; what a radical notion. Expect to see this coming to Canada soon, particularly by CanWest and the Sun chain.
Subscriptions/single copy sales have traditionally been a money loser. The main reason newspapers still have them is they can use those numbers to drive ad sales; the more subscriptions, the higher the sales. That’s one of the arguments for free circulation newspapers, that you don’t have the costs of managing unprofitable subscriptions.

On another front, the NYTimes-owned Boston Globe just got major concessions from its unions.

AP/Canoe, May 7 2009

AP estimates 5,900 newsroom jobs cut from US dailies in 2008

From an annual survey of its members.  This year’s tally counted 46,700 newsroom jobs, down from a 1990 peak of 56,900. And the news in 2009 has all been bad in the US, with major papers closing or declaring bankruptcy. And we still have to hear from CanWest nad the Sun chain whether they will survive, or shed jobs to pay down debt.

Canoe/AP, April 16 2009

Canadian mags steady (if somewhat declining); Sun increases daily circulation

The latest PMB shows some decline in readership, but generally steady over two years. More interestingly, the Monday to Friday readership of three of the four major Toronto dailies (Globe, Post, Star) declined 5 – 8 per cent from last year, but the plucky Toronto Sun has increased to 822,000 an almost four per cent rise. Perhaps I need to reconsider my prediction that the Sun chain is the most likely to go down, particularly in this harsh economic environment.

Globe and Mail, March 27 2009

Radio to make major changes in measuring listenership

Scroll past the items about all sports news coming in second to all news stations in the past few months (wonder what everybody is interested in these days?) and you’ll find a few paragraphs about how radio is changing its measurement of its audience. Up to now, selected listeners were, for a fee, given a diary to log on to what shows/stations it was listening to. That will be replaced by a meter which will audit what they are really listening to, as opposed to what they say they are (and people lie in reporting, as they do in public opinion polls, a factor most analysts have to be very careful about.) Used by some media already, it has incredible potential to redefine what people are listening to. CKAC Montreal for example, reported three times the listenership for Montreal Canadiens’ games than did the diaries.

Globe and Mail, Nov. 28 2008

One Frank dies, another thrives, on social media

The National edition of Frank, the satirical, sometimes scurrilous political magazine has finally died, but the Atlantic Canada Frank continues to thrive. Is the Atlantic funnier than the rest of Canada? Probably, but they also put a big store in the role of social media to help them keep going.

princanada.com, November 3 2008

“It’s just a flesh wound….”

Like the dreaded Black Knight in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The National Post keeps losing its limbs, while vowing to fight on. So, having stopped distribution in Atlantic Canada last year, the Post has now amputated the daily edition in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Death by a thousand cuts indeed; why don’t they just shut it down, or try it as a Toronto daily, which is where their emphasis is anyway. After all, it’s pretty hard to call yourself a national newspaper when you only circulate in four of ten provinces: Alberta, BC, Ontario and Quebec.

CBC, October 30 2008