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Monday, April 02, 2007

Tribune Death Spiral

Sam Zell, the billionaire real estate mogul must be pleased with himself: He managed to get his face on every major newspaper across the country. I'm sure his exuberance will subside once he realizes that he won the bidding war for Tribune Co., the lagging media conglomerate which is sinking deeper and deeper into irrelevance every day. The deal is valued at $8.2BN and Zell purportedly has the goal of making a profit.

It's not that newpapers don't make a decent profit, but that they operate in a rapidly contracting market. In just a short 15 years, the baby-boomers will be qualified geriatrics with significant vision impairment, likely unable to read the pages of the LA Times. And the younger generation? I spending 100% of my time around college students, and I cannot recall the last time I saw one reading an actual paper. Three simple letters: RSS. While the exact meaning of the acronym has been debated, the results of the technology have not. Newspapers are forever gone. I wish you luck Mr. Zell.