Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Cramer on newspapers

James Cramer, never known for his low-key approach to financial subjects, nevertheless especially dumps on newspapers in this column in The Street. His take:

These newspaper companies are in dire need of something, but, frankly, I don't know what it is. They missed the Web, mostly because they were so intent on developing their own versions of the Web that they left everything ungated. That strategy made Google (GOOG:Nasdaq - news - research - Cramer's Take) and Yahoo! (YHOO:Nasdaq - news - research - Cramer's Take) the only newspapers you needed. They missed cable, except for Scripps (SSP:NYSE - news - research - Cramer's Take). They seem incapable of being anything other than public services, and even there, they are falling down on the job.
So what will newspapers look like in 20 years -- if they still exist, that is. (Cramer seems even more bearish on papers than Philip Meyer, author of "The Vanishing Newspaper," who only partly tongue-in-cheek predicts the last newspaper reader in 2040.) The BBC has a rather superficial look at all this with the cheekily optimistic conclusion that newspapers will be around somehow, if only to provide distraction in our most private moments -- at least according to media commentator Vince Graff, who suggests that even within 50 years, newspapers may become a "niche product ... perhaps in the same way vinyl records are now."

The thing is paper is terribly convenient: how many newspaper-buyers read them on the loo?
But I think it is looking increasingly unlikely that there will be anything in broadsheet shape. That is already looking very old fashioned.

You just knew I had to get loo in here somehow ...


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