The New York Daily was recently acquired by Tronc for just $1 in a move that exemplifies the effect digital media is having on the traditional print newspaper market. Tronc also owns both the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. Confirming the takeover, Tronc Chief Executive officer Justin Dearborn said the move is aimed at serving new audiences and marketers as a way of giving Tronc shareholders value. Daily News has been operating since 1919 and is known to represent views held by the working class. The liabilities of the Daily News is said to be in millions and probably tens of millions, leading to its bankruptcy. The newspaper’s circulation stands at 200,000 a day and over 250,000 on weekends, which is a pale shadow of a daily that used to sell millions of copies in a day back in the 1940s, although it still retains its spot as one of America’s best-selling newspapers. The sale of the newspaper also signifies the end of Mortimer Zuckerman’s political influence. Mr. Zuckerman has owned the tabloid newspaper since 1993 and consistently used it to run commentaries on both local and national politicians.
Bold and perilous move
Reaction from the media industry has been varied, with Brian Stelter from CNN describing the acquisition as a sign of dangerous times for publishers of newspapers. On the other hand, Chicago Tribune welcomed the new Daily into the Tronc family by terming its acquisition as a bold and stunning bet on what the future hold for newspapers. It further stated that the move was a way of Tronc taking a plunge on all mainstream market newspapers as part of its strategy in growing the firm’s digital business. Tronc has been on an expansion drive, including unsuccessful attempts to buy the US Weekly and Chicago Sun-Times. Digital media competition has had a great effect on traditional print media, eating into its revenues and forcing most newspaper publishers to either shut down or change tact. However, this has not been the case with small or medium market newspapers, which have managed to be insulated from the technological disruption. Buying newspapers in this insulated segment of the media industry can be seen as an effort by Tronc to insulate its revenue streams.