Why are American billionaires buying local newspapers?

Content creation and development agency
A typical American Billionaire.
Everyone knows that print is dead and local and regional newspapers died years ago, don’t they? Fo sho. 

So why are American billionaires, like Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and John Henry, buying local newspapers as if they are going out of fashion? Could it be that they know something about the future of print that we don’t?

And what does all this have to do with technical PR anyway?

I would be shocked if these three global business leaders are investing in print solely out of nostalgia. But according to the Pew Research Centre newspapers lose $16 in print revenue for every $1 they gain in digital revenue. So Buffett and co aren’t investing in the digital future.

However, Buffett has argued that he believes there is a future in regional and local publishing, provided there is little competition and that the paper focuses on delivering hyperlocal content. Meanwhile, it’s been argued that Bezos believes he is buying influence on the political scene.

It’s easy to find analogies in both cases for the state of the trade and technical media in the engineering and technology worlds.

Magazines in niche areas can still do well commercially and we are already seeing a flight to quality, resulting in less competition. So Buffett’s argument works.

Furthermore, people’s minds still need changing and that’s hard to do that via a Google search. So there remains political clout in the trade and tech media.

But the real reason I believe millionaires are investing in publishing is simple. Although revenues are falling, prices are falling more quickly. That means they can buy a newspaper and be reasonably confident that they will see a return on investment before it ultimately closes down. It’s a transaction – like choosing the best investment fund for your pension.

Similarly, there are still many transactions to be completed with the technical print media, even before the flight to quality and rationalisation process is complete.

So, I would advise that your New Year’s Resolution be this - make like Jeff Bezos and understand the advantages of the web, building content continually. But at the same time, don’t forget the value that print media can bring to your campaign.

Naturally, here at Stone Junction Towers we can help with digital, print and social PR, as well as a host of other marketing services. So go on, give us a call – for the sake of auld lang syne.

PS – You may have noticed that our blog post has arrived in a sexy new format today. We’ve switched RSS providers; I hope you like it. That also means that if this e-mail is nothing more than a bunch of HTML and smiley faces, it’s not our fault and we are going to fix it tomorrow. Fo sho :-)

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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