Jeff Bezos using some loose change he found in one of his coats bought the Washington Post. Old news. Everyone believes he is positioning himself for political power. Which might be somewhat correct.
But consider this speculation in the world of publishing. the old system had gate keepers and middlemen who did quite well. Publishers, editors, agents who would score very nicely with best sellers and near best sellers.
Entire Amazon and disrupt the industry to the point where many of the old school are utterly confused and have no vision. They cannot even pick JK Rowling out of the slush pile when given the opportunity.
One of the gate keepers has been the best seller lists maintained by the large newspapers. NY Times best seller list being the gold standard. This item is not under the control of Amazon and focuses on big dog authors doing big dog sales.
The indie market is much bigger. More hamburger is sold than filet minion. But NY Times is not about hamburger.
Amazon just bought out Goodreads a few months ago.
Watch for a repurposing at Washington Post to match Amazons publishing ambitions and bringing more independent authors to the lime light. This is make it more compelling to read Washington Post and drive sales at Amazon.
But I’m just speculating. But it does create a virtuous circle of self sustaining activity which otherwise did not exist. The literary sections of many papers have been labours of love and chronically unprofitable. Watch for changes.
George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.
Image by kieren mccarthy via Flickr
Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) posted anemic Q1 results. Newsweek has been sold and is no longer a factor. Media such as print and cable are declining and are not creating shareholder wealth opportunities. The major division is now Kaplans. Everyone is supposed to be focused on additional education and skills upgrades. Turns out to be a parking spot for the unemployed. Enrollment is falling as the jobless rate improves.
So now we have a media driven company whose revenues decrease in down economies as advertising drops coupled with an education company whose revenues increase in a down economy. Washington Post has become a neutral hedge.
So where is the dividend? If the company is neutral to economic circumstances will investors be paid to hold it? If not why would you bother. Revenues and net income are so off, the dividend is looking vulnerable.
The key tell is looking at how the Q1 press release was constructed. There are no quotes attributable to executives. There are no comments about operations or future expectations. The press release was an elevator analysis focusing on the superficialites. No value added commentary was provided.
When your income drops radically, management needs to speak to dividend security. Mushroom treatment is not acceptable.
- WaPo Reduces Print Declines, Display Rises More Slowly (paidcontent.org)
- WaPo’s Print Picture Improves Slightly, As Digital Grows Stronger (paidcontent.org)
- Outside the Box: Warren Buffett is the smartest idiot I know (marketwatch.com)
- Private Education Stocks Slammed By Worries Over Weak Enrollment (APOL, COCO, DV, WPO) (businessinsider.com)
- Berkshire Hathaway & Buffett’s Latest Stock Holdings ‘S to Z’ (BRK-B, BRK-A, SNY, TMK, USB, USG, UPS, WMT, WPO, WFC, WSC) (247wallst.com)
- MarketWatch First Take: Washington Post Co. earnings: uh-oh (marketwatch.com)
- Washington Post Execs Bury Heads In Sand After 66% Decline In Profit (mogulite.com)