Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tribune Follows Others on Path To Split Print From Video

Tribune has emerged from bankruptcy with a plan eerily similar to others before it, separating the video business from print.  Following on Fox and Time Warner, Tribune sees more growth potential concentrating on the video platform and selling off the print one.  "The company offers familiar justifications for the spin off of its assets in the weakening print business to create a new company called Tribune Publishing".  Fox, Time Warner, and now Tribune all see more revenue growth in the video media side of the business, while print suffers through digital conversion. 

What is sad that none of these companies wish to use internal synergies to help the print business build out a new multi-media model to reflect the rise of digital distribution through the tablet and other mobile devices.  Unfortunately, as I have said before, Tribune's focus on broadcast and acquisition of the Local TV affiliates is based on the assumption of growing affiliate fees from cable subscribers.  Disruptive companies like Aereo and the rise of cord cutting could dampen that growth and limit profitability.  Ultimately, I am sure, those factors have been discussed by their senior management.

So we are seeing media companies splitting their platforms to focus more fully on video content and distribution.  Print companies will have to go it alone but perhaps open themselves to new partnership opportunities that will enhance the digital print business. 

Sirius Stays Strong

Sirius continues to grow as both the economy and car sales are rebounding.  Almost 750,000 new subscribers joined Sirius for the latest quarter, bringing their total subscriber base to over 25 million customers.  In a word, impressive. "In comparison, Netflix ended the first quarter with 29.17 million U.S. subscribers, and cable giant Comcast reported 21.94 million video and 51.9 million total customers."

Can this trend continue?  Sirius thinks so and is raising their year end numbers to match this growth.  Given that some of this quarterly growth reflects customers signing on with free trials, Sirius must continue to push to convert and keep subscribers paying their monthly bills.  For customers unhappy with the current variety of content on terrestrial radio, Sirius does indeed provide a wide range of programming for all to enjoy.