Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Will Tribune Emerge a Stronger Company?

Last March, the Newspaper Association of America singled out 2007 as the worst downturn in the newspaper print ad business in over 50 years. That was three months into 2008, well before the continued deterioration of the economy this summer and fall, before the banking and automotive industries imploded. 2008 is guaranteed to register as worse.

Newsprint costs have been up. Income down. (Newspaper ad sales were off 18% in Q3 (Bloomberg)). Classified ads have further migrated to the Internet. Consumption habits are changing. Traditional local ad buyers (like car dealers) are spending much less.

Punctuating how bad it’s become, the history books will record 2008 as home to the first substantial newspaper bankruptcy in years, decades.

Monday, hindered with debt from last year’s leveraged buyout, the Tribune Company, parent to the Chicago Tribune, The LA Times and the Baltimore Sun, made truths out of early rumors and sought the protection of the Delaware court.

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