Patterico's Pontifications

1/19/2006

Tribune Company Revenue, Stock Value Down

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:40 pm



Via Michelle Malkin comes word that shares in the Tribune Company (which owns the L.A. Times) have tumbled on news of falling revenue:

Shares in Tribune Co. tumbled Thursday after the media company reported a 6.1% drop in revenue last month on declines in both its newspaper and television businesses.

. . . .

Revenue from the publishing unit, consisting of its newspapers, dipped 4.2% to $413 million from $431 million in December 2004. The company said about $6 million of that $18 million drop was due to the timing of Christmas on Sunday and the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma in Florida.

Advertising revenue in the publishing division fell 4.5% to $333 million, down from $349 million. The decline included a 5.2% decrease in retail ad revenue and a 9.6% decline in national ad revenue, mainly at the Los Angeles Times. Classified ad revenue edged up 2.5%.

Circulation revenue was down 3.5%, the company said, citing volume declines at most of its newspapers and selectively higher discounting.

The continuing decline in circulation will apparently come as news to the paper’s business columnist. As I mentioned recently, a blogger said he left a comment on the business columnist’s L.A. Times-sponsored blog, pointing out the paper’s recent declines in circulation as an indication of reader dissatisfaction. According to the commenter, his comments were deleted, and the columnist wrote him an e-mail calling his comments a “lie” and “too stupid to countenance.”

Will the columnist call the reports of the Tribune Company’s decline in revenue and stock prices a lie as well? Only time will tell.

One thing’s for sure: anonymous Tribune Company commenter Biff can’t be too happy.

32 Responses to “Tribune Company Revenue, Stock Value Down”

  1. Cool, maybe the Tribune Company will sell the Cubs to raise cash!

    Spoons (68d828)

  2. Evidently the people in Ca. are getting smart. Why would anyone with half a brain buy a news (sic) paper that they know contains 90% lies? Maybe for the comic strip, that’s all I miss after cancelling my local paper owned by Media General. The LAT is probably too deep in the lies to ever get out. The WP posted the truth about the democrats being involved with Abernoff as deep as the Republicans and the left wing screamers sent in so much filth they had to shut the web site down. That’s the party of tolerance? The Bush derangement has already put most of them into total mental breakdown, in other words they are now insane. Maybe the LAT/NYT should quit using the Always Poorly Informed (API) as a source for news. All of the major news outlets have been led down the rosy path by the nutty AP
    I.

    scrapiron (9f37aa)

  3. […] Oh, come on Michelle Malkin and Patterico!  Is it really such merry news that the Tribune Company’s revenues are down, that ad revenue at the Los Angeles Times and its other media properties are down? […]

    From the Desert to the Sea… by John Stodder » Will You Please Wipe Those Smiles Off Your Faces? (b63597)

  4. In five years, the masters of the universe that operate the LA Times have managed to turn a $39 stock into a $31 stock. No doubt they demanded a bonus for their “hard” work.

    perfectsense (024110)

  5. perfectsense:

    Given the regularity with which newspapers regularly lambast corporate CEOs for their over-inflated salaries and stock options, I trust that the leadership of the Tribune company, far from demanding a bonus, is in fact busily returning their excessive salaries, perhaps placing it into the employee pension plans….

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  6. Peggy Noonan Watch: Decline of the Liberal Media Monopoly

    The Tribune Company NYSE from Yahoo Finance.
    Peggy Noonan writing in The Wall Street Journal, Not a Bad Time to Take Stock
    Thoughts on the decline of the liberal media monopoly and the future of the GOP.
    I don’t think Democrats understand th…

    FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog (baa0b4)

  7. A few weeks ago, Patterico said that we should not gloat at the troubles at the LAT and the fact that people are losing their jobs.

    Upon reflection, I believe that you were right. Instead we should wait until the paper, and all similar anti-American, anti-conservative, anti-religion and anti-average American papers close down and they ALL are unemployed. Then we should throw a gigantic party.

    Aside from our universities, there is no greater danger to America than the “MSM”. Bin Laden is not even in the top five.

    GaryS (de66ea)

  8. I write for one of the large metro daily papers being talked about here — not the LAT — and can tell you that allegations of liberal bias are not only NOT “too stupid to countenance,” they’re right on the money. In daily “metro” meetings, editors scoff and sneer about the state’s Republican governor even as they’re putting the front page for the next day. There’s never a voice in the room to question this attitude. There’s no question that the Dems’ general platform is the sole prism through which 90 percent of the newsroom views reality.

    In 2002, it was a major shock that a GOP governor won election in a state that has been operated as a Democrat monopoly for almost 40 years. More than half our readership voted for this. It’s a strange business model, indeed, to insist on insulting the judgement of 60 percent of one’s customer base on a daily basis.

    But never fear–the “look” of the paper has been “upgraded” in the past few months. The graph here illustrates just how successful that approach has been.

    Interesting times.

    MP8388 (d3d5f4)

  9. MP8388:

    Sounds to me like it’s time for you to document everything, with names, and be ready to write a book. I understand completely the use of the pseudonym: use your name, lose your job. But, if you are a good writer, and can compile a hefty amount of documentation, there’s no reason you couldn’t make a living working someplace other than the Baltimore Sun.

    Dana (3e4784)

  10. The Tribune Company attributes some declining profits to: ” due to the timing of Christmas on Sunday”.

    Ah, now we see the value to removing Christmas and replacing it with just “Holiday”. The merchants can put “Happy Holidays” wherever they want on the calendar, thus insuring better corporate profits all around, especially for the MSM.

    PC14 (98b75e)

  11. Dana-

    Thanks for understanding. Your suggestion is an excellent one. For the time being, ’nuff said.

    MP8388 (3b455f)

  12. latimes.com should charge $40/year for access. Clean up all the Dr. Seuss art design, eliminate the flashing red/green ads, and popups, and everything distracting, (WSJ had ads with music once), nuke the flash animation, let me get to a clean presentation of articles. I don’t even care if it keeps the liberal bias – that’s fun to complain about.

    What do these guys *want*? It’s certainly not my money.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  13. Would you rather be a pagan born, or suckled in a creed outworn?

    Oh, you guys! You just don’t get it. Those knowledgeable folks in MSM’s “reality based” community know what they’re doing will eventually persuade enough readers to see things their way.

    Otherwise, you’d have to conclude they’re suicidal.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  14. See this phone #?? 866-730-6468??

    Let me tell you about that number. It showed up on my cell phone last night at 7:14 pm. Then the same number rang me at work at 9:02 am today. This morning, in the midst of a busy Friday,…

    Darleen's Place (1650a7)

  15. FullosseousFlap’s…i just read the Noonan article, and she nails it, a dozen times or so.

    The Yahoo “max” chart is even more telling. Then do the “Compare” chart whilst comparing to S&P, Nasdaq, and Dow. Tribune Co. (TRB) is clearly breaking away from the ‘Pack’, and in the wrong direction, unless one is shorting TRB. TRB had even struggled to keep up with the major Markets from 1990 til 2000, and then held its own until 2004 (‘Bush Bashing’ became hot between 2001 and 2004). Insider Transactions looks brutal at best (” Beneficial Owner” sales 1-million shares on 28 Dec 05), and the “Downgrade” history is a bloody mess (eight straight downgrades, all in a row, during 2005).

    Ummmmmmm…imagine what TRB’s decline would be if it didn’t own the FOX Network television affiliates in Seattle, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Hartford, Grand Rapids, and Harrisburg!?!

    Advertising revenue in the publishing division fell 4.5% to $333 million, down from $349 million. The decline included a 5.2% decrease in retail ad revenue and a 9.6% decline in national ad revenue, mainly at the Los Angeles Times.

    BTW, the “publishing unit” is TRB’s “newspapers”, and the LA Times seems to be an anchor around TRB’s neck during a rough time in an even rougher sea…so to speak.

    Well, perhaps “anchor” is a tad harsh, huh. OK, a lead Megaphone since we spoke of Noonan, and her “the Democratic Party adjusting to the loss of its megaphone” statement.

    KarmiCommunist (62ef5c)

  16. Lady Darleen,

    i am attempting to buy the LA Times, for roughly what it is worth…so to speak seriously of a dime, and/or 10-cents.

    This is not the first time that humble hermit me has heard of the LA Times stalking a Woman, and their stalking is not limited to just Women.

    i will pay no more than a dime, but will stop stalking if i end up owning the LA Times, since i plan on firing everyone that currently works for them.

    Karmi

    KarmiCommunist (85a3d5)

  17. Who’s running the business columns over at LAT anyway, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf? “God will roast your stomach in hell for spreading these lies! I triple guarantee you, there are no corporate losses… And there are still no American tanks in Baghdad.”
    It’s bad enough to think that we can’t get news from any other source, but now they think they have a monopoly on stockbrokers too?

    Stewed Hamm (9012a0)

  18. KC has the right of it: TRB would be perfectly willing to sell The Los Angeles Times if someone came up with the right amount of money for it.

    Of course, if KC bought it, and hired me as the editor-in-chief (my journalism experience consists of two years on the Kentucky Kernel, the University of Kentucky’s student newspaper), and our esteemed host as editor of the editorial pages, and put the Clam and Black Jack and TNugent in significant editiorial positions, it would still be losing circulation and money.

    Newspapers are an eighteenth century innovation, whose time has run out.

    Dana (71415b)

  19. It is misleading to talk about how bad the LA Times is doing without mentioning that circulation for all U.S. newspapers is down significantly.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/v4/sub/MarketingPage?user_URL=http://www.theglobeandmail.com%2Fservlet%2Fstory%2FRTGAM.20051107.wcircs1107%2FBNStory%2FBusiness%2F&ord=1137893664123&brand=theglobeandmail&force_login=true

    Here are some interesting trends from an article named “Are Newspapers doomed?”:

    …statistics on readership have been pointing downward, significantly downward, for some time now. Four-fifths of Americans once read newspapers; today, apparently fewer than half do. Among adults, in the decade 1990-2000, daily readership fell from 52.6 percent to 37.5 percent. Among the young, things are much worse: in one study, only 19 percent of those between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four reported consulting a daily paper, and only 9 percent trusted the information purveyed there; a mere 8 percent found newspapers helpful, while 4 percent thought them entertaining.
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article.asp?

    aid=12101048_1

    So trouble at the LA Times may be due more to the national declining readership than anything else.

    Also, as for television, it looks like competition is doing a number on regular TV channels too in general. More and more channels means less of an audience for each station.

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  20. Dana, Newspapers are an eighteenth century innovation, whose time has run out.

    I believe you’re correct. Psyberian’s remarks support your observation in general. Particularly with the internet and talk radio, news and commentary has been “democratized”. Throw in cable news, with the addition of Fox, and the average person has a broad spectrum from which to choose.

    Since the preponderance of the large newspapers tend to be in large population centers, and the preponderance of news people tend to have a liberal-left world view, the larger newspapers have tended to drift leftward over time while the country has arguably moved in the other direction. Most people simply won’t spend the money to read what we consider to be propaganda when we can do a “fair and balanced” analysis on our own based on a plethora of excellent resources.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  21. Mr. Arthur wrote:

    Since the preponderance of the large newspapers tend to be in large population centers, and the preponderance of news people tend to have a liberal-left world view, the larger newspapers have tended to drift leftward over time while the country has arguably moved in the other direction. Most people simply won’t spend the money to read what we consider to be propaganda when we can do a “fair and balanced” analysis on our own based on a plethora of excellent resources.

    I actually do regret what I see as the eventual demise of newspapers, regardless of the bias with which they seem immersed today. Television news is, just as much on Fox as CNN, too focused on the reporter than the story, and television reporters are selected for their looks as much, if not much more, than anything else.

    That kind of reporting necessarily adds buffering layers. When you read a newspaper, you at least used to have some confidence that the writer actually dug up the story. (That’s changing, too.) With television news, you have the Camera Faces flown in to prsent stories researched by other people, the people who never make the camera, and people whose journalistic standards no one knows and no one researches.

    Dana (71415b)

  22. When you read a newspaper, you at least used to have some confidence that the writer actually dug up the story. (That’s changing, too.)

    We used to have that confidence, yes, but was it justified? My guess is that it wasn’t; we just had no way of knowing that.

    Xrlq (428dfd)

  23. Once you grasp that most all printed national news is only a rehash of wire service copy, one becomes less and less confident in the views and veracity of newspaper stories, and you begin to develop some serious doubts about the integrity of reporters who sign their names to stories they didn’t write.

    With Internet access to AP, UPI, and other services world wide, it’s easy to compare the rewrites from the NY Times to the LA Times and everywhere in between. You immediately see the similarities in the underlying articles, but you also see how both a general industry wide liberal bias, and the individual bias of local writers combine to mock the very notion of objective reporting.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  24. As the real estate market collapses over the next two years or so, major newspapers (which depend on real estate ads) will go bankrupt faster than any airline ever did.

    Justice Frankfurter (2dcd84)

  25. Several very apt comments. I’d like to add that IMHO it was Watergate that created the press we have today.

    Prior to the 70s the press had at least some semblance of balance in their editorials and paid, I think, a fair amount of attention to getting their facts straight. Journalists largely came up through the ranks so they tended to have been mentored by those preceding them in “the ways of journalism”, e.g., journalistic ethics and the importance to one’s credibility in getting the facts straight. Nor was there really an expectation in the public’s mind of receiving news 24 hours per day.

    Along came two young reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, with their Watergate revelations followed by Nixon’s subsequent resignation. We then start to see the young, anti-establishment “journalist” crowd tasting power – the power to take down a president. Heady stuff.

    This is the background for journalists today who almost exclusively come from generally left of center journalism schools, taught by left of center “professional journalists” who were budding journalists in the mid 70s. Today’s journalists, by almost any study you’d like to cite, enter the profession to “make a difference.” They are all about “speaking truth to power” and have elevated their constitutionally recognized mission of public truth-telling to a much more confrontational, adversarial role. And they worship at the alter of Woodward and Bernstein and Watergate. After all, who wouldn’t like to have their name become a household word?

    Couple this with their generally left of center world view and you create institutional bias that is so pervasive that it is virtually invisible to those within the profession. Virtually every study ever done on the subject confirms this analysis. Bernard Goldberg has written two excellent books on the subject.

    I am in some level of agreement with Dana regarding the demise of newspapers, though I would say, loosely quoting Mark Twain, that the talk of their demise is greatly exagerated. Sure, the media will change from news print to the electronic internet, but I believe there will always be a public need for “news”.

    I’d also agree that the 24 hour news cycle and the multitude of “talking heads” are largely driven by personality and “Camera faces.” This was largely the problem with Dan Rather and the TANG memos. Who ever heard of Ms Mapes before that? Though it was the internet that balanced the bad reporting in that case. Unfortunately there was no internet to balance Walter Cronkite and the others who virtually single-handedly created the “debacle” that was Viet Nam and in the process turned the country against the war and the troops to the extent that we literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Are we not on the same path now in Iraq? Seems to me that we are.

    Black Jack is also entirely correct. A major problem with current “fact reporting” is that journalists are demonstrably lazy. That they simply copy wire stories, or even the “facts” therein, without as much as Google searching for accuracy or doing any meaningful research on their own, says a tremendous amount about the media in general. And once an assertion is made in a wire story, no matter how ridiculous or factually deficient, it becomes the opinion of the great unknown “they” and taking up a life of its own becomes “fact”.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  26. “…journalists are demonstrably lazy.”

    Yes, but there’s more to it. The several working journalists I know are nice people, but aren’t particularly well educated or especially bright.

    Nor are they possessed of much of the sort of individual presence we call “gravitas.” Too often, as well, they lack both personal confidence and tend to demonstrate an unease in ordinary social situations, and a decided lack of familiarity with the more formal social graces.

    Taken together, I think the journalistic profession attracts folks who haven’t developed much of an integrated individual social and intellectual core from which to analyze world events. Consequently, they are too willing to adopt the views of already established leaders in the profession, and are unwilling to entertain the possibility their profession is hopelessly myopic.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  27. Jack’s comments are pretty much on target, as far as they go, but there’s one other problem. We’ve all seen the stories (especially since our esteemed host has brought them to our attention) concerning how the newspapers are cutting back on newsroom personnel; the Los Angeles Times is getting rid of 85 of them. Trouble is, the remaining personnel have to produce just as much copy! This means more time in front of the word processor, and less out actually gathering the news. Reporters today are slaves to people calling then on the telephone and giving them tips.

    Dana (71415b)

  28. Mr. Arthur wrote:

    I am in some level of agreement with Dana regarding the demise of newspapers, though I would say, loosely quoting Mark Twain, that the talk of their demise is greatly exagerated. Sure, the media will change from news print to the electronic internet, but I believe there will always be a public need for “news”.

    The problem arises that the newspaper industry still hasn’t figured out how to survive financially in the internet age.

    We all love the fact that the internet has basically been free, but someone, somewhare has to pay for reporting. The newspapers used to make a living doing that, via paid circulation and advertising, but both of those things are dropping, because newspapers simply face competition from modern technology.

    Dana (71415b)

  29. Great analysis from Dana and Black Jack IMHO. It may be that we are seeing the incipient phase of newspapers morphing into full time Drudge Reports. I think Drudge has found a way to make a living with the Drudge Report – popup ads?

    It may very well be that the industry as it now stands resembles the “buggy industry” at the inception of the Model T. I’m sort of glad I’m in another line of work. Of course it’s commercial aviation so how bright am I?

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  30. Wow, it’s so wonderful to hear others echo both my opinions and experiences (the reporter who wished not to be named). Thank God there are no Chomskyites here. 🙂

    I do take exception to this from Blackjack, though:

    “Taken together, I think the journalistic profession attracts folks who haven’t developed much of an integrated individual social and intellectual core from which to analyze world events. Consequently, they are too willing to adopt the views of already established leaders in the profession, and are unwilling to entertain the possibility their profession is hopelessly myopic.”

    This was never my experience at the major metro daily I worked for. The reporters and editors were quite intelligent and well-read, but they were (mostly) quite liberal and contemptuous of anyone who voted Republican. There was even one editor who proudly told anyone he could that he was a card-carrying communist.

    sharon (fecb65)

  31. Sorry, sharon, perhaps it’s the company I keep. The few working journalists of my acquaintance don’t actually appear to do much reading, and they seem to lack the broad formal education necessary to distill complex issues into brief articles. Otherwise they are among the nicest and most decent people I am privileged to know.

    I’m glad to know my experience isn’t universal. Best Regards,

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  32. […] To Michelle’s list I would add: 26) Boycott the L.A. Times (of course, revenue at the LA Times is already plummeting). […]

    UrbanGrounds » Blog Archive » Ignoring Joel Stein (9c1cd3)


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