Editor’s note: If you have followed the sale of the Philadelphia newspapers, this article gives some perspective on what that might mean for Philadelphia from an out-of-town perspective.
Is there anything more forlorn than the American metropolitan newspaper? First readers began deserting in droves, then the advertisers followed. Family owners headed for the exits and then hedge funds and other financial players scooped up newspapers thinking they were buying at the bottom of the market. Greater fools came and went, each saying they could cut their way to former glory and renewed profitability. They got a haircut instead.
Many smaller community newspapers remain stable and newspapers with a large national footprint have generally done better. But quite a few of the midsize regional and metropolitan dailies that form the core of the industry have gone off a cliff: over all, the newspaper industry is half as big as it was seven years ago.
So if most newspapers are an uneconomical proposition incapable of sustaining profits, let alone pay off the debt so many buyers have larded on them, who is left to own them?
- Political Figure Considers Bid For Philadelphia Newspapers (huffingtonpost.com)