Strong news brands, by and large, have discovered two things recently. Number one is the fragility, to be generous, of advertising revenues, digital and otherwise. Second and just as important is the rise of subscription revenue for big news brands like the New York Times and the Guardian. In addition, though most significantly in the US market, is the Trump Effect, passionate foes and fans of US president Donald Trump are paying to see what they want to see.
The digital age has made one factor more important than all others: scale. To thrive, if not only survive, media operators view consolidation as primary business strategy. Shareholders and stock traders agree; other insecurities pale. Above all, what is familiar is favored.
Big media houses are finishing 2013 with a sense of renewal. The financial picture for most isnít getting much better but it isnít getting much worse. Digital transition is a foregone conclusion but the end result remains hazy. Possibilities, once so numerous, all lead one direction.