The newspaper outlook is downcast, at least through next year, according to a new report by Moody's Investors Service. Because civic leader Malin Burnham would like to raise investor funds, take over the U-T, and make it into a nonprofit, the report will be "must" reading for some San Diego moneybags.
Digital subscriptions will plateau quickly, says Moody's. Digital is the fastest-growing business for publishers, but the growth will slow this year and next. The share of newspaper and magazine advertising will continue to drop. Consumers will continue shifting their eyes from newsprint to social media, digital video, and the like.
This is "no surprise," says Jim Romenesko, media commentator on jimromenesko.com. "The recent wave of publishing spinoffs and divestitures sets the stage for further industry consolidation," says Romensko, commenting on Moody's findings. "Moody's sees little evidence that the [United States] newspaper and magazine industry will generate sufficient income from digital subscriber fees, non-print advertising or marketing services over the next year to offset stress on print volumes and pricing."
According to the Guardian, "Moody's senior credit officer Carl Salas wrote in the report: 'Companies will make some gains against this decline from ongoing investments in digital platforms, but not enough to prevent most publishing companies' performance from eroding.'"
The Los Angeles Register — launched last April by Orange County Register publisher Aaron Kushner — will cease publication immediately, Kushner announced yesterday (September 22). When Kushner bought the Orange County Register, he stunned the newspaper industry by hiring reporters, adding sections, buying the Riverside Press-Enterprise, and then attacking the Los Angeles market. Recently, however, he has been doing what other publishers have done: laying off reporters and cutting back. The latest to go: his short-lived attempt to put a new paper in L.A., despite that market's problems.