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Troubling Media Trends

Troubling Media Trends

Recession driven, troubling media trends have piled up at an alarming rate this month. For the second time in January, a media outlet has turned to eBay® to try and salvage its existence. For the price of a New York condo, you can own a TV station. Also, 10 magazines have folded and two more newspapers are printing each other’s stories.

** A cable network station perhaps worth $15 million during better times is being auctioned for $2 million on eBay®. The sale, occurring because of the “recession and poor business decisions by the owners,”includes a “complete broadcast television station and remote television production/satellite uplink truck.”

There are no shipping charges; the item is available only for local pickup.

That locality is the Columbus, Ohio region, and the station is the Columbus Sports Network (CSN), according to newsblues.com. The station was broadcasting local sports exclusively until last June, when it laid off 30 employees. Since then, CSN has aired nothing but infomercials.

** Meanwhile, Hardcore Gamer Magazine went on the eBay® auction block for $42,000 the first week of the month. The owner ended the auction early to go into private negotiations with a potential buyer, according to the New York Times. Before the auction began, DoubleJump Publishing said it would continue printing the magazine, which after 35 issues has a robust albeit modest circulation of 220,000.

** Disney’s Wondertime magazine for parents, circ 400,000, became the 10th magazine title to cease printing this month. Others were: Hearst’s Teen magazine; JPG, an independent experiment consisting of user generated content; Electronic Gaming Monthly from financially ailing Ziff Davis; Meredith’s Country Home; surfing magazines Water and Longboard; green-living magazine Plenty; 10-year-old yoga magazine Ascent; and Masthead magazine, which covered, of all things, Canada’s magazine industry.

** Call it the euphemism of “sharing content”or the blunt assessment of printing the same articles, Oklahoma’s two largest newspapers announced today that they will “share selected stories, photos and other news content.”The Tulsa World and the Oklahoman have joined a growing list of competitive newspapers fighting the recession with sharing agreements. The arrangements have popped up in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas and the Washington, D.C., area. Among them are the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun.

Yikes. What’s next? Will the recession cause cats and dogs to no longer be mortal enemies?

–Michael Blankenheim

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