Saturday, August 03, 2013

The end of the ink and paper age has come.

I wonder what the Pony Express riders thought when they were replaced by the iron rail of the train and the picket line poles of the telegraphs. I wonder what happened to the ice houses after the mass production of refrigeration. No longer any need for that cumbersome and poorly insulated "ice box" to store our food in along side a daily delivery of an ice block.

The demise of the printed word on paper has been twenty years in the making, but it is definitely here and there is no denying it now. The NY Times may have thought they were getting a deal twenty years ago when they bought the Boston Globe, but not so much now. And to think, they could have still gotten 300 million for it two years ago.

What the new owner intends to do with it remains to be seem. Perhaps there is a 100 million in liquid assets plus a margin for a small profit for carving it up and selling it off down to the bones of the great beast it once was. Either way, one thing is certain. The days of millions of Americans getting their news today, by reading about what happened in the world yesterday or last week is over. It has been over for at least the past twenty years. Some people just failed to get the memo.

The sad thing about it? Back when the newspapers ruled? Most Americans actually read the paper daily or occasionally and they actually cared about the outcomes of events that would go on to shape their destiny. Now? They are happily oblivious and content to play on their iphones and watch reality television while they slowly succumb to the poisons of today's manipulated food supplies while tweeting about their own small little worlds.

Yesterday was the 49th anniversary of the Tonkin Gulf incident. Who knew? Who knows? Who remembers? Who cares? The same thing could happen today and more people will be concerned about tweeting BS commentary about the lives of the Cardasians or Justin Bieber than they will concern themselves with the realities and effects of and incident of global influence.

The US State Department has ordered all middle eastern consulates and embassies closed world wide tomorrow, citing threats of substantial terrorist concern delivered by Al Quaida. Whatever happens tomorrow or next week you can count on one thing, gone are the days when millions of Americans will read about it in the paper the next morning and gone are the days of real journalism in America. The sad truth is that the majority of Americans no longer gives a damn what happens in the world and the rest will get their news about what happens from the internet,

RIP to all the Poor Richards who thought their ink and paper days would last forever.

New York Times Sells Boston Globe at 93% Loss


After purchasing the Boston Globe in 1993 for a then-record $1.1 billion, the financially troubled New York Times just announced it sold the 141 year-old paper to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for a mere $70 million. That's a straight 93% loss. Figuring in two decades of inflation would only make it worse -- as does the fact the Times retains the Globe's pension liabilities, estimated at over $100 million. 

The Times announced in February that it was putting the Globe up for sale. News reports claimed that bids had been as high as $100 million. What might have sweetened the lower offer for the Times is that Henry offered a straight cash deal, which is expected to close sometime in September or October.
In 2011, the Times turned down a $300 million offer from Aaron Kushner, CEO of Freedom Communications, Inc., publisher of the Orange County Register and other newspapers in California. This offer even included the assumption of pension liabilities, which are currently estimated at $110 million.
The Times itself reports that today's sale to Henry does not include pension liabilities. Apparently, those remain a Times' responsibility and expense.
In September of 2002, the Boston Globe enjoyed a circulation rate of 413,000. The average weekday circulation today is nearly half that, 230,351.
Other than plummeting circulation due to online competition, both the Times and Globe have been plagued by collapsing ad revenues, that have only worsened in recent years. Friday the Times reported its 11th straight quarter of falling ad revenue.
Both the Globe and Times have and continue to strongly endorse and champion President Obama and his economic policies, even though those policies have failed to create the kind of economic growth necessary to create a boom in advertising spending. The future doesn't look much brighter.
Last quarter the American economy only grew by 1.7%. Last month saw only 162,000 new jobs created, most of them part-time.


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