Yesterday, The Washington Post (WPO) and Baltimore Sun said they will start to share content to save money. The newspaper industry’s fortunes are that bad. The Post says that the deal with cover everything from local news to the international content from their overseas news service.
It is not clear how much money this move will save, but it may end up being a template for newspapers in Fort Worth and Dallas, San Francisco and San Jose, and Minneapolis and St. Paul.
In New York City, The New York Times (NYT) is in trouble. It has $400 million in debt due next year. Its operating income keeps falling with its advertising revenue. Its online business does well, but not well enough to offset the decline of sales from its print business.
The New York Post, which is part of News Corp (NWS) does not break out its P&L for the public, but, like all large city dailies, it must be struggling. Since the Times tends to appeal to upscale readers and the Post is more of a blue collar product, it is hard to see where the firms could collaborate. But, there are some areas where sharing content makes sense. The Post has a better gossip section, covers the media industry well, and has a strong sports page. The Times clearly has strength in business, national and international news. News Corp owns The Wall Street Journal, which competes with the Times on many levels, but the need to save money in New York may trump that.
The other alternative is to merge the papers and call the new product The New York Times-Post.
Douglas A. McIntyre