February 2005 Archives

Daily Papers face a Kodak Moment?

Frank Ahrens takes a look at the plight of daily newspapers, where, despite declining readers, the bulk of the real estate industry's advertising dollars are spent (here's a great graphic on the changes):

Frank A. Blethen, publisher of the Seattle Times, said his industry has some breathing room left. But not much.

"The baby boomers are going to continue to drive print [sales] for some time," he said. "The problem we have are the . . . 18- to 35-year-olds. They're not replacing the baby boomers."

Others are more blunt, if hyperbolic.

"Print is dead," Sports Illustrated President John Squires told a room full of newspaper and magazine circulation executives at a conference in Toronto in November. His advice? "Get over it," meaning publishers should stop trying to save their ink-on-paper product and focus on electronic delivery of their journalism.

I believe the changes in the newspaper industry mirror Kodak's plight: the sharp, ongoing drop in formerly very high margin film sales. People are still taking pictures, in fact, more than ever. Kodak is just not capturing the kind of dollars they did in the past.

Newspapers face a similar issue. Their high margin, very high overhead business model will likely not survive (this will take some time), BUT citizens still want information, in fact, due to the internet, we're foraging for information at much higher rates than before.

I also think newspapers have not adjusted to their reader's changing expectations regarding news accessibility, depth and content in the internet era. The traditional text article, designed for print no longer cuts it. Thus the rise of the blogs....

Watch the conversation (technorati).

Study: Home Sellers should be wary of agents...

Daniel Gross:

The industry couldn't function without the armies of agents who help buyers and sellers reach mutually agreeable terms on those four-bedroom, center-hall colonials, and who generally collect hefty 6 percent commissions for their trouble. But a recent study by two University of Chicago economists suggests that home sellers should regard agents with some caution. The study does not suggest that agents are inherently untrustworthy. Rather, it says, the housing market remains inefficient, and the incentives for agents to maximize profits for their clients aren't powerful enough.

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