Signs of the Times

The Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times newspapers among others, filed for bankruptcy protection today. Not all too surprising, this is the first newspaper conglomerate to suffer the effects of the Internet on advertising revenues for print media.

The number of people getting their news online these days is staggering versus the number of newspaper subscribers. Sure the media sources are selling online ads, but the ad revenue is just a fraction of the revenue generated by print ads.

The Tribune Co. has other problems as well, including huge debt brought on by a buyout last year.  But considering their total circulation puts them among the top three most-read newspaper groups nationwide, it’s almost alarming to see this happen.

Bottom line for businesses: keep newspaper advertising on a short leash. With the economy in turmoil, and even the largest companies suffering, it’s no time to sign long-term advertising commitments such as those required by publications (in order to optimize your ad cost per issue).