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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Warren Buffet buys 26 papers, calls online unsustainable
Frank Niemeir, Photographer
Woodstock | GA | usa | Posted: 12:17 PM on 05.26.12
->> http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/26/3044259/warren-buffet-buys-26-local-paper...
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Patrick Fallon, Photographer, Assistant
Torrance | California | USA | Posted: 1:26 PM on 05.26.12
->> Frank,
He said that FREE online news was unsustainable.

"The original instinct of newspapers then was to offer free in digital form what they were charging for in print. This is an unsustainable model and certain of our papers are already making progress in moving to something that makes more sense"

Read the full letter here:
http://jimromenesko.com/2012/05/24/warren-buffetts-letter-his-editors-and-p.../
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Frank Niemeir, Photographer
Woodstock | GA | usa | Posted: 2:26 PM on 05.26.12
->> Yeah, yeah, I know, but if I had started the thread with the quoted headline all I could have got in the thread title would have been "Warren Buffet buys 26 local papers, calls free online news ' "
More on Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-24/buffett-says-free-news-unsustainab...
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Dave Einsel, Photographer, Photo Editor
Houston | TX | United States | Posted: 3:22 PM on 05.26.12
->> An interested related piece, in that it discusses the challenges concerning the future of online advertising revenue, from the former editor of AdWeek.

http://www.technologyreview.com/web/40437/?nlid=nldly&nld=2012-05-22
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 6:17 PM on 05.26.12
->> Frank Frank Frank... Headline writing 101.

Buffet buys 26 newspapers; "free online news unsustainable"
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 10:52 AM on 05.29.12
->> If you read the letter Romensko posted, you have the first bit of good news for newspapers in a long time.

Buffett is anything but the typical billionaire owner. He is a disciple of Ben Graham and makes decisions to buy based not only on the numbers but the quality of the people running the companies.The guy can pick companies - he's rarely wrong.

Once he buys them, they set the targets and he lets the managers manage. This is NOT the grind the last ounce of profit/cash flow kind of guy. Anything but...

In the newspaper industry, this guy could light the path toward showing others how to be profitable without picking the bones clean.

Pay particular attention to his comment about local sports coverage.
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Joey LoMonaco, Photographer, Assistant
Woodbridge | VA | United States | Posted: 11:23 AM on 05.29.12
->> He just bought my main freelance client. After reading this stuff, I'm pretty stoked.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 6:06 PM on 05.29.12
->> David, I just read Michael Wolff's piece. Couldn't agree more.

My 17 year old piped up this morning: "Hey, FB is down to $30/share".

My response was -" good - let me know when it hits $8 (which I think it will do) so I can laugh at all of the suckers that bought that dog."

The multiples that Wolff quotes are the same thing I latched onto originally - they are virtually impossible to sustain at the opening price of the stock. Cannot be done. Esp. when the target group using the product DOESN'T LIKE ADVERTISING!

I liked his line = this isn't Google - it's AOL or Yahoo.

I believe that says it all. The offering is a boat anchor foisted onto people who have too much money or not enough common sense.
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Sid Hastings, Photographer, Photo Editor
St. Louis | MO | United States | Posted: 8:31 PM on 05.29.12
->> Perhaps Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway can help light a way to making journalism work in the brave new world of new media.

Interestingly, NYU prof Clay Shirky suggests that Warren is focusing on the wrong audience. He writes that the destructive reinvention underway in journalism dictates that Berkshire Hathaway should be worried about attracting local advertisers, not local readers:

http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2012/05/warren-buffetts-newspaper-purchase/

Only time will tell what the answer might be....
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 10:05 PM on 05.29.12
->> Buffet can't lose. The papers he bought are worth more for their real estate value than the businesses themselves.

Although I respect his business acumen enormously, Warren Buffet is wrong about print newspapers. I've been right on this narrow topic longer than he has.

--Mark
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 8:12 PM on 05.31.12
->> Dear "Huh,"

Which part did you not understand?

--Mark
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Murfreesboro | TN | U.S. | Posted: 9:12 AM on 06.01.12
->> My local paper finally started charging for online content after probably more than a decade. It's funny hearing everyone around me at work initially complain about having to pay because they "never even read the paper," but then subscribe to the online content because we all read the paper every day online. Seven bucks a month for online, six for Sunday delivery only with all the benefits of online as well. My breakfast cost me more this morning.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 9:43 AM on 06.01.12
->> It's ironic - the heart of newspaper business from a revenue standpoint is advertising/marketing: promoting products, goods and services. This is something that they've been particularly poor at when it came to selling their own product.

Like any selling situation, it's about getting the customer to notice the offer and then buy based on satisfying wants/needs versus dollars paid.

I like the bridge concept - buy the print subscription - get the online for free or a dollar or so more. It will be interesting to see what the Buffett properties do with pricing and offers since Warren was very specific when he said free online was unsustainable.
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Michael Prengler, Photographer
Dallas / Ft. Worth | TX | USA | Posted: 10:00 AM on 06.01.12
->> Papers need to go after Craigslist. Offer free classifieds for print and online with a subscription. Classifieds were such a huge part of the cashflow that has just about evaporated. The free part sucks but you need to get people to think about the paper for cars, homes, etc.

It's a lot harder to scam someone when you are a subscriber to something and have a CC/Paper Trail on file.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 10:05 AM on 06.01.12
->> Michael, great point but it may not even have to be free. Craigslist is scammer central. Your idea about using credit card paper trail is interesting.
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Murfreesboro | TN | U.S. | Posted: 3:34 PM on 06.05.12
->> While paying for my local paper's online version is a no-brainer for me, I'm now realizing the number of newspapers I frequent on a daily basis and the number that are now beginning to charge. Subscribing to each one isn't going to be realistic for me.
I propose a new hypothetical business model for online newspapers, which is to combine with a larger entity similar to a cable company. People don't subscribe to individual channels, so would it be possible for a parent company to pay different newspapers for the rights to sell subscriptions to the paper based on the quality of the paper itself? Customers could subscribe to different combinations of newspapers or levels of service. Newspapers could then focus soley on content. Just a thought. Mr. Buffett, when you read this idea and want to hire me as a consultant, please feel free to contact me through my member page.
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 4:49 AM on 06.06.12
->> I guess the real good news is that Buffet is a long term value player. Cheating others for his own gain is generally not his style. Remember, he's an advocate for the wealthy to pay their fare share of taxes.
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Roger Davis, Photographer, Photo Editor
Russiaville | IN | USA | Posted: 8:06 AM on 06.06.12
->> A lot of good comments. As a sports photographer (that's why I joined SS in the first place) I will have to say my photos look a LOT better on-line than printed on newsprint, but a LOT more people actually SEE the photos in the printed edition in this community. One of the papers I freelance for gives significant attention to youth sports and will print several color pages of decent-size photos every week. Not much other than the photog's descriptions appear in writing relative to the event, but people seem to love the approach and enjoy seeing their kids or teams in a paper serving around 100K. They probably also notice the little ads sprinkled among the photos.
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Chris Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbia Falls | MT | USA | Posted: 12:31 PM on 06.06.12
->> If free is unsustainable, then why is the Buffalo News content online free?

(At least it never asked me to pay for a story. Not a one.)
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Thread Title: Warren Buffet buys 26 papers, calls online unsustainable
Thread Started By: Frank Niemeir
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