In pivoting aggressively from print to local TV, Gannett Inc. and Tribune Co. are embracing a legacy media model that could be headed for the same audience fragmentation and economic dislocation as the newspaper businesses they are trying to escape.
As detailed here yesterday, the two iconic publishing brands have announced parallel, billion-plus acquisitions that will boost their local broadcast holdings at the same time they reduce their exposure to the fraying newspaper empires on which both companies were built. Going further, Tribune is seeking buyers for some or all of a publishing portfolio that includes such prominent brands as the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
The long-time newspaper publishers can’t be blamed for being attracted to broadcasting. Television generated a record $49.7 billion in local and national advertising sales in 2012, while newspaper advertising revenues – which have been sliding relentlessly for seven years – ended 2012 at less than half the all-time high of $49.4 billion hit in 2005.
Though the transactions planned by Gannett and Tribune clearly reflect their confidence in the continued health of broadcasting, a look at the collapse of the once-indomitable newspaper business suggests that TV, in due course, could suffer a similar fate. We’ll review the accumulating evidence in a moment. First, here is a quick review of what happened to newspapers:...
Via Jeff Domansky