Saturday, May 2, 2009

Warren Buffett: "I don't see anything on the horizon that causes the erosion of newspapers to end"

Jeff Jarvis, via Paid Content, quotes Warren Buffett:
The current environment is accentuating problem in newspapers - but it’s not the basic cause. Charlie and I read five a day. We’ll never give them up. We would not buy them at any price. They have the possibility of going to unending losses. They were essential to the public 20 years ago. Their pricing power was essential with customer. They lost the essential nature. The erosion has accelerated dramatically. They were only essential to advertiser as long as essential to reader. No one liked buying ads in the paper - it’s just that they worked. I don’t see anything on the horizon that causes that erosion to end.



Anonymous said...

So good for old Warren. After several years he joins the chorus. The building has been burned to the ground. The Oracle has spoken so the alarm bells sound.

On the bright side, none of those answering the alarm will be burned, even though the occupants are all, already dead.

Good job Warren. Anyone taking bets that this goes down as an Oracle Prophesy?

Anonymous said...

The Oracle didn't exactly go out on a limb with this prophesy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe McClatchy should ask Warren to bail them out! haha

Anonymous said...

After Hurricane Andrew, basically nobody in Miami except hospitals had electricity. TV was useless. After your batteries went dead, you couldn't listen to the radio or use a computer. Cellphone signals were spotty at best.

The Miami Herald delivered free to any home in the hurricane zone with any sign of habitation for about 3 weeks. When I saw the guy from Home Delivery climbing over the mound of debris in front of my house to bring us a paper, I cried.

You want to know about essential: The Herald ran columns and columns of listings of people looking for family members and friends they had lost track of in the disaster.

I don't want to invite natural disasters to prove how essential newspapers are, but when Mother Nature turned back the clock on technology by a century or more literally overnight, it gave people an entirely different perspective on the old dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget how well his "buy and hold" strategy has worked for your 401 k

ex-Democrat said...

I'm not sure what lessens my opinion more for Warren Buffet; his support for a marxist president or his moronic thoughts on a dead industry that lies like Pravda.

Anonymous said...

6:38 A very nice piece you wrote.

However, given they ARE and richly DESERVE to go out of business, I suggest when the next Katrina hits, the Miami Herald...,

(which will then properly call The New FEMA Herald)...,

should be printed and delivered the exact same way you describe, right until the power comes back.

Then about three weeks later, they can go back to their proper oblivion, until the next crisis.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to invite natural disasters to prove how essential newspapers are, but when Mother Nature turned back the clock on technology by a century or more literally overnight, it gave people an entirely different perspective on the old dinosaur.

Yes, I see your point. Just as if a nuclear war broke out because Obama stood by his Muslim brothers and gave Iran the bomb, all of us left would have a new appreciation for sticks and stones.
God forbid that anything turn back the clock just to save your wonderful paper, but if it does. AIR DROP RADIOS! It worked in PANAMA and IRAQ...TWICE!

You know, that really is the weakest and most desperate excuse to save a newspaper yet....but I know. Never let a perfectly good crisis go to waste.

Anonymous said...

There was something else we found out after Hurricane Andrew. It brought out the very best or the very WORST in human nature.

Just like this blog.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10 You, are very, very good, and add much to this blog

Anonymous said...

9:21 PM Well, you have to admit. You left the door wide open for that one.

Even Obama wouldn't buy that excuse for a bail out....or would that be a buy in? His track record so far indicates the latter.

Anonymous said...

I've been in ad sales for over 11 years and remember one of the first state training classes I attended. The trainer said "newspapers were born on third base they have never changed their sales strategy. If we are to survive, we need to change it, now" Before going into newpaper ad sales, I'd been in advertising for a major retailer. They still haven't changed it. I've heard from clients all this time that we are the hardest media to deal with and I agree. Management has continued to consider us the 800 lb gorrilla, then the 500 lb, etc, until we are where we are, now. I've seen no concern for our customers - advertisiers or readers - in all these years. I've managed to make make money by remembering who REALLY writes my paycheck...and it's not Mcclatchy. They and every other newspaper that I know of, has completely forgotten that. They don't care about their readers, their advertisers, their employees...which makes you wonder why they continue to do what they do. I'm getting out, now! I beleive there is still a need for "local" newspapers, either online or print. When they learn to value their product for what it is, rather than try to grab the next big "revenue generating" idea (usually a copy from some other media) and shove it down the advertisers and readers throat because they know what's best for them, they may come back stronger than ever but in a smaller more local form.

Anonymous said...

If we did lose power and electricity, internet, etc, in a crisis, it would be almost impossibe to produce a newspaper. We have gone so far into the tech age that our ads are done out of the country, production and printing is offsite and computer and internet dependant for many papers...we'd be in the same boat as all the tech media.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there will be a manufactured
internet crisis cyber attack
as a pretext for Internet 2.
Independent media is killing the MSM, and the truth is exposing the elitist criminals. Might actually help the stock in newspaper industries, you know, to help get the sheep back in line.

Dave D. said...

..Why does EVERY defense of newspapers distill down to " You'll be sorry when they're gone "
...Try me. I'm ready.

Anonymous said...

It's all we've got.

Anonymous said...

OK Davey D.,

Let's flip it around bright boy. Tell us how McClatchy going to stick around?

Oh, and don't forget to include their Billions in debt that they can't pay, their stock price at .50
cents, and how thier not bias?

Still waiting?

Was that you Melanie?

Anonymous said...

“After your batteries went dead”
I have a radio that I recharge with a crank, and so does everyone I know that cares about their family. I was never without radio, and I shared the news with all my neighbors. We did not wait for newspapers with day old news. The radio stations set up hotlines that cannot be topped for real time information.

Anonymous said...


..Why does EVERY defense of newspapers distill down to " You'll be sorry when they're gone "
...Try me. I'm ready.

Where have you been? Here are a few tasty headlines over the last month or so. Get back to me big guy huh?

(rolling eyes, no wonder you guys are almost distinct)

Columbian newspaper faces foreclosure, Sheriff's sale of existing building.

Chicago Sun-Times files for bankruptcy

Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper goes Web-only

New York Times sells, leases back part of building

Philadelphia "Inquirer" and "Daily News" Consolidate

Decline in Newspapers Renews Idea of Nonprofits

Rocky Mountain News publishes final edition

Philadelphia "inquirer" and "Daily News" File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

3 Philly-Area Dailies Will Drop Saturday Paper

Strib (Mpls 'Red' Star)union rejects concessions, bankruptcy seems certain Media

Internet Surpasses Newspapers As News Source


Anonymous said...

This is all Jimmy Carter's fault, you know.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:43

Ladies and gents: a crank with a radio.

Anonymous said...

8:48 So next emergency, tell me you won't be a crank yanker, ya wanker

Anonymous said...

I'll hanker for a banker or a spanker with a canker

Anonymous said...

Re: Hurricane Andrew & worst in human nature..

The old reliable looters were out in full force. Odd we saw only the welfare pets kept for crisis reporting, the looters were glossed over, again! The poor souls needed a 52” TV to feed their families.