Online newspaper business not yet so profitable

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Boston Properties CEO Mort Zuckerman talks about media, Warren Buffett’s investing in newspapers and online news delivery. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Market Makers’.

Revenues from online publishing remain pretty weak.

Online audience, though imprecisely measured, continues to grow and many online newspapers, magazines and websites claim their overall audience is growing.

Many publishing companies see improvements in digital revenues, especially if they diversified into non-newspaper digital ventures. Many major papers made their work available in mobile phone apps, new apps for the iPad and other tablets, and various other electronic editions – all of which consumers seem willing to pay for, though none is a short-term revenue bonanza.

But website advertising rates are driven down by massive available inventory and will probably never sustain a comprehensive daily news report. The clock continues to tick on finding strong supplementary revenue streams as print media seems certain to stagnate or decline further.

Newspaper organizations continue to insist, as they have for several years now, that they are transforming themselves to take advantage of the digital future. But the path is hardly a well-marked four-lane highway, and the effort often seems comparable to chopping through the jungle with a machete.

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