Scripps Going to Sell Papers?

From the “missed this one” file, EW Scripps, which owns numerous print newspapers in addition to cable TV assets (Food and HGTV) and Shopzilla/BizRate, is apparently thinking about selling its newspaper properties. They account for a smaller share of revenue than they once did and growth is flat.

Here’s the NY Times‘ brief coverage, while LostRemote reports that the news of the potential spin-off was cheered by Wall Street.

Clearly the market and many investors believe that print newspapers’ are a liability vs. the Internet. I don’t agree but we’re very much still in a painful transitional time. Telecoms have largely shed their yellow pages businesses and we’re sure to see more sales and consolidation in the newspaper business. In the same way that directory companies were snapped up by private equity (for better or worse — some would argue the latter), the same may happen to newspapers.

There may also be an analogy to the 1970s auto industry when American car makers had to adapt to the influx of more efficient Japanese cars and corresponding consumer demand for them.

Newspapers will survive and hopefully thrive again. When is the question, and what will the industry ultimately look like?

2 Responses to “Scripps Going to Sell Papers?”

  1. Howard Owens Says:

    I don’t think the plan is to sell … but to spin off … into a new company, probably still controlled by the family.

  2. Bennett Zucker Says:

    Scripps news properties are mainly in small markets they dominate, so a sale seems surprising. However, CEO Ken Lowe made his mark as a cable guy and more recently as a media guy who knows how to move offline properties online profitably. Small market papers that lack mass to attract national advertising or significant numbers of new viewers for HGTV, FoodTV, etc. may simply not make the cut in the portfolio of a fast-moving 21st century media co.

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