Monday, July 28, 2008

U-T R.I.P.?

Because the Union-Tribune isn’t exactly coving it’s own sale, the Voice of San Diego had this bit from Randy Dotinga’s article:

"Given the devastation and uncertainty in the industry, it is unlikely that a public company would make a large purchase right now, as they would have their head handed to them," said Lauren Rich Fine, a retired Merrill Lynch newspaper analyst who teaches at Kent State University.

Instead, analysts think the most likely buyer would be a private company or a group of investors. But even that's a long shot considering that the few newspapers on the block aren't attracting offers.

At this point, everything is speculation, of course. Details about the U-T's financial condition are hard to come by since it is privately owned and not required to release data publicly.

One thing is clear, however: Battered by sharp falls in subscribers and advertising, the nation's 21st-largest newspaper is not in a position of strength. Its bid for buyers seems to be a sign of desperation.

"It defies all reason to want to sell the newspaper now, unless they believe that things are only going to get worse from here," said Alan Mutter, a media analyst and former newspaper executive.

What I find interesting is that even though San Diego is the 6th or 7th largest city in America, the U-T has the 22nd largest circulation of the country’s major dailies.


Maybe the free-marketers on the editorial board should do a piece on how their own newspaper’s inability to compete, especially in a monopolistic situation, is a sure sign that they shouldn’t be in this business in the first place.

The Voice the San Diego is regularly scooping them with one-tenth of the resources and nowhere near the same size of staff, although with layoffs at the U-T there may now be parity.

Diversification of portfolios, especially when it comes to revenue streams, is a basic lesson in business. I guess the management at the U-T thought it better not to try to improve their product beyond the superficial.

Well, the market has spoken.


catdirt said...

according to the 2000 census, the san diego "area" is the 14th largest market. los angeles is 1st, Riverside/SBedoo is 11 & Orange County is 15. SF/Oakland(inc. contra costa) is like 21/22.

So it's not as bad as being the 7/8th largest city and 22nd paper- like half that bad.

but point taken- desperate or what?

Anonymous said...

San Diego shouldn't be without a daily newspaper, but the UT brought this upon themselves.

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, the more I have come to conclusion that the UT should die. It, along with the Chamber of Commerce and Developers form the three pillars of the corrupt San Diego establishment.

Anonymous said...

really, anything would be better than the current fishwrap.

Anonymous said...

It's not a monopolistic situation. The UT competes for national news coverage with the NYT, LA Times, and other major dailies. The problem is with local coverage competition. The UT competes with other local papers for local coverage and, with the current news team, does so poorly. A "major" paper like the UT SHOULD dominate local coverage because the citizens need well researched UN BIASED reporting. This hasn't been happening. Now, other sources, like The Voice, are beating the UT to the stories but reporting is blatantly slanted with political commentary or opinion (which is fine if that's what they want to be, but should not be the "news source" of the city). Bottom line: San Diego needs a reliable news source for local news.