Friday, July 31, 2009

Is small media the future of big media?

Michael Arrington at Tech Crunch develops an interesting proposition. What if the best 50 writers at the New York Times left the NYT, and developed their own lost cost, low overheads online start-up? Would their readership follow them? Would investors be interested?

Like everyone else I’ve watched the print media world fall apart over the last few years. The poster child for that industry is the New York Times, of course, and their many missteps in recent memory have been well chronicled. In early 2008 Marc Andreessen started a New York Times Deathwatch, and the company’s financial performance has degraded since then.

I keep wondering what would happen if the top 10% of the writers at the NYTimes just…walked out. I know it’s crazy, but let’s just explore this a bit for the heck of it.

Today the company is worth just a little over $1 billion. As recently as five years ago it was worth nearly 5x that much. You have to go back to the early 1980s to see a lower stock price.

I certainly don’t think the NYTimes is going to be shutting down any time soon. The company still pulls in nearly $3 billion a year in revenue, down just 10% or so from 2005. But massive overhead, and more than 9,300 employees, make profitability an increasingly difficult goal for The Gray Lady. Her age is showing.

Full article here.


Anonymous said...

Terry, Umair Haque's been thinking in similar directions.

Terry Flew said...

Thanks Tim. Interesting read. I'll raise it in my discussions with Fairfax.

Anonymous said...

well that is a really interesting proposition indeed and I think that small media like Sildenafil Citrate Television company can have more advantages than big media because they would advertise at a low prices than the big media, and if