Newspapers are on sale everywhere and so are many magazines, all of them at bargain prices. Yesterday, Group Sud Ouest finalized the sale of Midi Libre to La Depeche for a sum which should not exceed 20 millions euros, a far cry from its buying price ten years ago. The same with Express sold by Roularta to Drahi the new telecm owner for about 10 millions euros.
And now, there is the rumour that the New York Times, the most prestigious American daily could be bought by Bloomberg. The price would certainly be much higher than the 250 millions dollars fixed for the sale of the Washington Post and could amount to more than 1 billion dollars. Still, it would be a revolution in the American media world as the grey lady is the last major newspaper to belong to a family.
What does it mean? First that there are still people who are interested in legacy media and willing to put money to gain what they consider is prestige and influence. Then there is the fact that prices have gone down dramatically as the examples of the Post, l'Obs, sold for 5 millions euros or Express show. So why not try a new adventure and merge digital and print media as Bloomberg would obviously like to do with the Times.
As usual, the battle for the media is a battle of moguls. But now they are using the money they acquired in digital affairs. Blommberg will face Bezos, Drahi will attack Niel.
And yet, I wonder. Are the future news giants to come from the former legacy media, boosted by digital money? It is not sure. Audacious pure players are all over the place and growing very very quickly.