Continuing the dirge of dreary earnings that began on Wednesday this week, Tribune Co. wrapped up its last quarter as a publicly traded firm with a $78 million loss from continuing operations. The pattern was identical to that reported by Journal Communications, McClatchy and New York Times Co. yesterday: Classified revenue down 25%, hurt by a 34% drop in real estate advertising and a 28% decline in help-wanted; retail advertising off 10%; national down 11%. Most ominously, the publisher reported that Internet ad revenue was up only 6%.

Evidence is mounting that Sam Zell had no idea what he was getting into. Having initially declared that the Tribune Co. wouldn’ t downsize its way to profitability, he has hacked more than 500 jobs and is talking of further cuts. Zell said he planned to keep the company mostly intact, but in announcing disappointing quarterly earnings on Thursday, the company said it has ““begun a strategic review of certain Tribune assets.” There’s now talk that Newsday is on the block, with media moguls Rupert Murdoch and Mortimer Zuckerman sniffing around.

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a contest for the best reader-submitted video opposing Sam Zell’s proposal to sell naming rights to the Chicago Cubs. The winner was a college student who interns at the Tribune. The Trib has some fun with winning its rival’s contest in this clip, which also includes the winning video.

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 21st, 2008 at 7:48 am and is filed under Advertising, BusinessModel, Classifieds, Layoffs, NewMedia, Newspapers, OnlineMedia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments Off on Tribune Co. Goes Private Not a Moment Too Soon

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  1. March 23, 2008 @ 12:06 am



    Tribune execs must be smiling that they unloaded their mess onto the next sucker. This time, I don’t think another sucker exists.

    Posted by Newspaperfan