Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
Bad News for Copley, Good for KUSI: Cox Selling Austin, Other Papers Amid Gloomier Newspaper Environment
Cox Enterprises has put the Austin American-Statesman up for sale, along with ten papers in smaller cities such as Waco. That will leave Cox with only three papers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Austin is generally considered a market quite similar to San Diego, where Copley Press, owner of the Union-Tribune, last month put itself up for sale. There is almost no market for metro dailies. A group of wealthy local citizens led by Mike McKinnon, who controls KUSI-TV, talked with Copley about a purchase even before the company went publicly fishing for bids in late July. McKinnon, who would combine the paper's news and advertising functions with those of the TV station, is likely to wait Copley out, hoping for the price to fall. Cox's move will help. Meanwhile, there is more grim news for newspapers. In the second quarter, three chains reported that online revenues fell: Lee Enterprises down 9.1 percent, AH Belo down 12, and EW Scripps down 8. Newspapers hope their online operations will save them. This year, for the first time, broadcast TV is expected to chalk up larger revenues than newspapers -- $51 billion to $47 billion. Newspapers are expected by Veronis Suhler Stevenson to be down $1 billion from 2007 while TV rises $3 billion.