Poynter amalgamates the 2011 first quarter earnings reports from Gannett, New York Times Co. and Media General, and the outlook for newspapers isn’t so rosy: lower revenues are driving lower earnings compared to the period a year ago.
So what’s going wrong? Well, where do we begin! Newsprint prices are high, circulation revenue is down, digital efforts are still in their early fumbling stages, heavy debts must be repaid, and even “severe weather” and an “unsettled world economy” are being blamed.
The very thin profit margins on net earnings (1 percent for the quarter at New York Times Co.) do not delight Wall Street, but I see a positive beneath the surface. As all the companies do their own version of digital transformation, they are investing in new media rather than harvesting operating profits and dropping them to the bottom line.
Exactly the right attitude! We’ve had enough of this depression, and it’s time for a turnaround. Newspapers, 2011 is your year.