Media General CEO Marshall Morton says major American newspapers will have to join forces in order to stay alive. “There’s got to be some assimilation, I would guess that rather than bankruptcies, you’d see some combinations,” he says in a story that appeared in Monday’s NY Times.
Ad revenue at newspapers across the country is down around 15% in May compared to the previous year. In part that’s because the hurting real estate companies aren’t buying ads. And while the web is often hailed as the knight in shinning armor, it remains far less profitable than the print version.“We have pulled our thinking down twice with respect to revenue,” Morton told the Times’ Richard Perez-Pena.
Morton ended the interview on a positive note. “As long as we’ve got content, we’ve got something nobody else has,” said Mr. Morton, of Media General. The industry’s challenge, he said, is to keep expanding that audience, “proving to the advertiser that we, in fact, are the right link so that he can have his conversation with the customer through us.”
Morton has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Media General Inc. since July 1, 2005.