Friday, April 24, 2009

The Detroit Free Press/News Joint Operating Agreement

From Sympathy for the Pencil:

In August 1985, Allen Neuharth of Gannett, the nation's largest media chain, purchased the News from ENA for $717 million, confident that it would win the newspaper war.

The News was the nation's ninth largest newspaper, the Free Press the tenth. They fought for control over Southeastern Michigan, which was the fifth largest demographic in the nation. The News, however, had a 20,000 circulation lead over the Free Press and was therefore set up to be the prevailing paper.

Between 1981-86, the Free Press was estimated to have lost between $10.7-13.8 million a year. By the time Gannett propositioned Knight-Ridder for a JOA to save the papers, the News had lost $20 million and the Free Press lost $35 million.

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