Read at Boston.com
Billionaire owners of media companies such as Jeff Bezos, Patrick Soon-Shiong, and Marc Benioff are struggling to make money in the news industry. Time, The Washington Post, and the LA Times all experienced significant financial losses last year despite considerable investment and efforts to generate new revenue streams. Ann Marie Lipinski from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University states that wealth does not insulate owners from the challenges plaguing media companies. The losses are having a direct impact on the LA Times, with journalists preparing for bad news.
"Wealth doesn't insulate an owner from the serious challenges plaguing many media companies, and it turns out being a billionaire isn't a predictor for solving those problems," said Ann Marie Lipinski.
The acquisition of news organizations by billionaires was seen as a potential solution to the financial struggles faced by the industry. However, it is becoming clear that their business acumen and tech expertise are not sufficient to address the challenges in the digital publishing landscape. Despite their optimism, these billionaire owners are facing similar difficulties as other media companies. Many employees had placed hope in the owners' abilities to solve the problems of the industry, but this hope has proven to be naive. The losses experienced by these media outlets, such as Time, The Washington Post, and the LA Times, highlight the ongoing challenges faced by the news industry.
"We've seen a lot of naive hope attached to these owners, often from employees."