Friday, October 20, 2006


A patient Singleton says news companies will be better in 10 years


"Why We are Still Buying Newspaper Companies:
Their Value and Their Future"

From the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association website

Despite the difficult times ahead for the newspaper industry, MediaNews Group continues to feel very bullish about the future of newspapers and will continue to buy newspapers, William Dean Singleton, MediaNews vice chairman and CEO, said at Tuesday's general session at the SNPA Annual Convention.

He acknowledged that there are some who believe that newspapers are a dying business. "We find ourselves in difficult times," Singleton said, but "we're not a dying business. We're in a changing business...and it's changing very rapidly."

He says part of the reason Wall Street isn't convinced that the next business model will be more exciting than the old one is that newspapers haven't proven it economically yet. "This will be a down year for the newspaper industry," he said. "Most newspaper companies will have down revenue from last year and certainly . if not down revenue . down profits, which isn't something that happens very often in our business. Wall Street's not accustomed to that so they're punishing newspaper stocks."

He said that, while print readership is still very dominant, it is declining somewhat. And, print advertising is declining as readers change the way they reach customers. "So, we are going to have a period between the old and the new that's going to be a bit choppy. And, it may last a year or two or three or four." But, he said the bottom line is that . as consumers begin to depend on interactive media for their daily lives . "we'll be there."

As the business model changes, Singleton says newspapers will continue to depend on the things that have made them successful:

-- Good solid local news coverage
-- Being close to customers in their markets
-- Providing those customers with the advertising tools they need -- whether it be in print or interactive, through cellular telephone or ipods, or however they want it.

"I think the future is promising and the business we end up in 10 year from now, in my view, will be far better than the business we have today," Singleton said. "But, we have to be somewhat patient in getting there."

For information about ordering a CD with audio presentations from the SNPA Annual Convention, click here.


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