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Jeff Bezos buys The Washington Post

In a surprise announcement, The Washington Post announces it is being purchased by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

From the Washington Post:

But for much of the past decade, The Post has been unable to escape the financial turmoil that has engulfed newspapers and other “legacy” media organizations. The rise of the Internet and the epochal change from print to digital technology have created a massive wave of competition for traditional news companies, scattering readers and advertisers across a radically altered news and information landscape and triggering mergers, bankruptcies and consolidation among the owners of print and broadcasting properties.

“Every member of my family started out with the same emotion – shock – in even thinking about” selling The Post, Graham said in an interview Monday. “But when the idea of a trans-action with Jeff Bezos came up, it altered my feelings.”

He added: “The Post could have survived under the company’s ownership and been profitable for the foreseeable future. But we wanted to do more than survive. I’m not saying this guarantees success, but it gives us a much greater chance of success.”

Of all individuals to purchase a newspaper, I’m bullish on this one. If Jeff’s approach to Amazon is any indication, he’s willing to forgo short term profits for strategic gains in market and that attitude may help keep some of the content generators (read cartoonists) on the payroll longer than a corporate bean-counter would in a similar situation.

Speaking of cartoon content generators, the Washington Post is home to editorial cartoonists Tom Toles, Ann Telnaes writer/blogger Michael Cavna and illustrator Nick Galifianakis.

Community Comments

#1 Mike Cope
August/6/2013
@ 11:23 am

Curious if this also affects the syndication arm of the Washington Post Writers Group.

#2 Mike Lester
August/6/2013
@ 12:28 pm

Mike, I asked the same question and the answer from D.C. was “yes”.

Based on your previous purchases, Jeff Bezos, you might also like:
? The Los Angeles Times
? The Orlando Sentinel
? Newsweek

#3 Brian Fairrington
August/6/2013
@ 6:07 pm

I find this story very interesting on many levels. One is the fact that just last year in 2012 Bezos said: “?There is one thing I?m certain about: there won?t be printed newspapers in twenty years. Maybe as luxury items in some hotels that want to offer them as an extravagant service. Printed papers won?t be normal in twenty years”…”and nobody is willing to pay for news online.?

Secondly are the comparable values. Bezos paid $250 million for the Post and by comparison Amazon did about $63 billion in revenue last year or about $170 million per day. However, it has only recently been profitable.

The Huffington Post is another company that was created with $300 plus million in venture capital and is still not profitable (also remember they managed to pay zero to content creators as well)

Sure, newspapers are in trouble but there is also no miracle internet savior as online advertising generates only a fraction of what print does. It will be interesting to see what Bezos does, but does he really have a viable solution? I wouldn’t hold your breath.

#4 Tom Falco
August/7/2013
@ 10:24 am

I think that anyone who steps in to save newspapers is to be applauded. I am sure Jeff Bezos has good intentions and like many of us would like to see newspapers live. If I could afford to buy newspapers, I would.

#5 Justin McKay
August/8/2013
@ 6:26 am

Newspapers are not going to slowly fade away. The slow fade away has already happened. They’ve now entered collapse and are in total free fall. I think they’ll be gone in five years. They’ll suddenly disappear overnight just like the video stores did. Oh well… I guess I’ll have to be a web cartoonist.

#6 birdie Birdashaw
August/8/2013
@ 10:55 am

amazon changed the way people shopped, I’m certain Bezos is going to change the way we take newspapers

#7 Russell Whiting
August/19/2013
@ 10:38 pm

“I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.”

-Citizen Kane-

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