Forbes Magazine offers an analysis of the impact on the New York Times Company of Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of the Wall Street Journal. Because I have a lot of respect for Forbes, I am delighted that their approach is consistent with my own analysis published 6 days earlier. In particular, we both agree that the national edition of the New York Times is in considerable jeopardy should the WSJ add general news (and sports - a real strength of the News Corporation I ignored in my analysis):
The Times needs its national readership more than ever. Its market share in the New York metropolitan area has shrunk to 24% from 29% five years ago, according to Scarborough Research. As a result, the Times' circulation in the New York metropolitan area now accounts for only 48% of its overall weekday circulation and 44% of Sunday circulation, down from 58% and 53%, respectively, five years ago.
There are already challenges on the national advertising front. According to TNS Media Intelligence, the Times held a commanding 49.6% share of all national advertising in 2006 among leading national newspapers, including Gannett's (nyse: GCI - news - people ) USA Today and the Journal. But that was down from 50.3% in 2005 and 51.8% in 2004.
The Times' ability to respond to these challenges is constrained because it's become a virtual pure play in the newspaper business, relying on the Times and The Boston Globe for the lion's share of its revenue. Dow Jones and the Journal were also heavily reliant on newspaper revenue until last week. Now it's a rounding error in the war chest of News Corp. and its $25 billion-plus in annual revenue.
Forbes implicitly commends to the NYTCo the sort policy of diversification followed by the Washington Post Company. Unfortunately, NYTCo's management has not demonstrated an ability to manage such a diverse business empire, and now faces financial challenges which may make future substantial acquisitions difficult, if they do not provide a quick cash return. For better or worse, the NYTCo is becoming more of a pure dead tree media play. And Pinch's legacy for the family and company will be tested in the next decade. I would not bet on him succeeding.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky