Can The Press of Atlantic City survive another takeover attempt with even deeper personnel cuts? It’s only a matter of time and we’ll find out, say industry insiders.
The company that owns The Press of Atlantic City is Lee Enterprises. Lee also publishes newspapers like AC Weekly, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Buffalo News.
Lee, like many media companies, having mixed results in their digital evolution.
Newspapers still putting most of their efforts in the protection and harvest of declining print-ad budgets.
Author Clayton Christensen was right. Traditional media would ultimatley find itself mired in an ‘Innovators Dilema’.
Christensen developed the theory of ‘disruptive innovation’. This is where a dominant company (ex: Press of AC) ignores small upstarts like DownbeachBUZZ or BreakingAC. The big publisher unwittingly opens door to ‘disruptive innovations’ at lower end of the market. ex: WordPress powered, hyper-local websites.
Market leaders tend to protect their cash cows, placing little focus on up-n-coming, potentially disruptive revenue ops.
Press of Atlantic City, AC Weekly and the entire Lee Newspaper group pressured to speed up digital transition.
Broadcast and print media had two decades of a head start.
- Newspapers lost their #1 revenue stream: classifieds. Ignored simplicity of Craigslist, etc.
- TV was leapfrogged by YouTube type offerings. Joe Rogan vs CNN.
- Radio should dominate in podcast & audio streaming space. Spotify & YouTube Music.
According to APnews, Lee has been a regular target of takeover attempts. They pushed back and won, for now, against Alden Global Capital. The Alden hedge fund is known for cutting fat within ineffecient local media orgs. Alden currently owns 6.3% of Lee.
Lee still fighting off hostile takeover attempts from the Alden Global Capital hedge fund. Alden owns approx 200 newspapers, including the Boston Herald, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. See APnews.
Not much confidence in (Lee’s) management or board.Cannell on APnews.
Lee’s largest shareholder is Cannell Capital with a 9.1% stake. Cannell thinks Lee needs new board members and executives with experience running a digital publishing business.
For many years, Cannell Capital has been pushing Lee to get their digital sh*t together.
LEE, the Iowa-based media company, is reporting both good and bad news.
- Lee has 450,000 digital-only subscribers.
- Digital ad and subscription revenue grew 17%.
- Recent quarterly profits declined nearly 20%.
Lee’s share price fell from $44 in early 2022, down to $25 in April 2022.
Traditional media isnt going away, but it’s contracintg and needs to pivot faster. Purge dead wood. Manage digital operation just like print: put business-first publisher in charge of web direction, not editors and content creators.
Consider adding new digital-savvy leaders to board of directors.Hedge Funds