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The Boston Globe was sold last week for $70 million dollars, by the NY Times to Boston Red Sox owner, John Henry.  Sounds okay until you realize it was bundled in with another Massachusetts paper, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.  The NY Times had paid $1.1 million for the Globe in 1993 (before internet) and the Worcester paper for $300 in 2000.  That’s a loss in value of $1.2 billion.

These kinds of precipitous declines are not unique.  Take Business Week magazine.  It had a circulation of about 6 million in 1990 when it ruled as a source of business news.  By 2009 circulation dropped to under a million and it was sold to Michael Bloomberg’s organization for a reported $2 million dollars.  Surely the brand alone was worth that.

Top that off with the sale of the Washington Post to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.  What’s happening here?  Is it just rich guys buying newspapers?  Or is there some potential for symmetry?

One newspaper killer has been sites like craigslist.com and kijiji.com not to mention up and comers like bookoo.com.  Newspapers used to make a huge portion of their revenue from classified ads.  Those new guys drained the coffers.

Is it just print?

No.  Television ratings have declined as well.  Traditional networks have been weakened by the vast proliferation of specialty channels.  As well as on-line news sources.

Have you noticed that the regular nightly news has become more sensationalized?  With commentators punctuating their news with loaded adjectives like “amazing!” and “devastating” or “insightful.”  Not the words of facts, but loaded to make the stories seem more important.  And accuracy in reporting is a thing of the past.

Nightly news has also become the venue for stories on celebrities, upcoming movies, and promotions for shows on that network.  All to try to promote viewership levels as the numbers keep going down.  And so does the quality of the reporting, all trying to limbo lower than low-brow.

Netflix is now releasing its own content creating a significant new non-broadcast channel that didn’t exist before.  Just add that to the competition.

People are transitioning from one medium to another, and the destination is on-line.

It is a tough environment for advertisers to use to get their message across.  And the on-line media has not really found a way to make a lot of money, yet.

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