Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Amazon’s Bezos’ New Mission? Perhaps to Prove Print Isn’t a Dinosaur Headed for Extinction

Bezos interested in much more than just Amazon!

Most have heard by now that Amazon Head Honcho, Jeff Bezos, has bought The Washington Post newspaper for a cool $250 million smackaroos 🙂

I suspect that Mr. Bezos might have a nostalgic soft spot, as do I, for the dynamic, constant deadline publishing style of newspaper journalism; but, his interest in a print newspaper probably goes to a higher motive than just nostalgia.

He does want to become a big media player as evidenced by his current involvement in streaming movies available to its Prime members in an ongoing competition with Netflix — and Bezos’ Kindle has been delivering videos, music, news and books; a media-consuming tablet put in-place to push device sales.

BUT, can he save a print industry plagued by declining print advertising sales? OR is he going to redefine that revenue source with something entirely different (imagination needed here)? Remains to be seen.

Don’t forget, though, that Bezos is somewhat of an advertising guru himself — just look at the money he attracts with Amazon (which is detailed and tracked more by eMarketer in tonight’s feature news article drawn from USA Today).

He is also interested and has ambitions in many things outside of Amazon, retailing and books. Bezos is still heavily involved in his 2000 startup, Blue Origin, which intends to provide a human spaceflight company for space exploration — with a goal of developing space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for several million people orbiting the Earth.

High ambitions, indeed!

From Scott Martin, USA TODAY:

Amazon’s Bezos: Retail revolutionary, news tycoon?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has done a number on brick-and-mortar retailers, defied Wall Street for years in eschewing profits for growth, taken on Apple in tablets and now holds a new title: newspaper owner.

Amazon’s CEO agreed to acquire The Washington Post for $250 million today.

The 49-year-old Bezos — who is famous for a honking laugh and gregarious nature — is No. 19 on Forbes‘ list of the world’s richest people, with a net worth of $25.2 billion. Bezos started Seattle-based Amazon in 1994 as a bookseller and rapidly expanded its categories and has swallowed many more.

Bezos is not the first billionaire to become a major media player. AOL founder Steve Case merged AOL with Time Warner. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes picked upThe New Republic. And IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller bought Newsweek, which ceased printing last year. Given how troubling advertising has been to publishers, Bezos has his work cut out.

“The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs,” Bezos said in a letter to Washington Post staffers.

Bezos has already displayed a proclivity for endeavors far outside of the confines of e-commerce.

One of his interests is space exploration. He captured the public’s fascination with his startup Blue Origin, a “human spaceflight company,” with a goal of developing space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million to 3 million people orbiting the Earth.

Read complete USA Today article here

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Gannett Newspaper Publisher Talks Money

In previous posts I have reported on the re-blossoming of magazine publishing, including increasing ad pages and revenues…Are newspapers on the road to a financial comeback also?

This insightful article from by Mark Sweney gives a clue:

The US newspaper publisher Gannett, which owns the UK regional publisher Newsquest, has reported the best ad revenue performance at its publishing arm in three years and has unveiled a major ad partnership with Yahoo.

Craig Dubow, chief executive of Gannett, said that its publishing division had benefitted from cost cutting and lower newsprint expenses in its second quarter results published today.

“In our publishing segment this quarter was the best comparison quarter for advertising revenues since mid-2007,” he said. “We benefited from continuing efficiency efforts company-wide as well as lower newsprint expense.”

Gannett, which publishes USA Today and more than 80 other newspapers as well as running 600 magazines and 23 TV stations, said that ad revenue at its publishing division fell 5.7% year on year. Circulation revenue fell 5.9%.

Ad revenues were 4.6% lower in the USA and 6.4% down, in pounds, at Newsquest. The company said that figures in June, which show ad revenues down just 3.6%, were the best comparison “since early 2007”.

Newsquest, which owns titles including Glasgow-based the Herald, saw classified ad reveue fall 6.8%, national ad revenue drop 11% and retail advertising fall 4.4%.

Gannett used its results to announce a local advertising partnership with Yahoo. All of Gannett’s 81 local publishing organisations and seven of its broadcasting division sites will sell Yahoo advertising inventory.

Gannett reckons the partnership, which “may” include providing “select local content for programming across Yahoo sites in the US”, will extend its local media organisation reach to cover “as much as” 80% of the total digital audience in the markets it operates.

“Working with Yahoo will allow us to offer targeted advertising messages with unmatched local audience reach,” said Gracia Martore, president at Gannett.

Dubow pointed to Gannett’s broadcast and digital divisions as the real drivers of growth, while a positive result for the embattled publishing division was continuing to achieve “moderating revenue declines”.

“Our strong results this quarter reflect very positive revenue trends for our broadcast and digital segments and moderating revenue declines in publishing as we continued to close the revenue gap in the quarter,” he said. “Stronger core advertising demand and increased political spending drove revenue growth in broadcasting while positive revenue results at CareerBuilder and PointRoll contributed to revenue growth in the digital segment”.

Gannett’s digital operation saw revenue increase by 8.3% while the broadcasting unit saw revenues climb by a massive 20.3% year on year.

Overall Gannett saw net profits rise 35.7% year on year to $146.5m. Total revenues fell 1.6% year-on-year to $1.37bn.

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