Saturday, April 18, 2009

Media Week 15: Kindle, McClatchy, Dawson, Springer

More remedial analysis and needless hype over sales numbers for the Amazon Kindle. What is somewhat irritating about this post by Michael Arrington at Techcrunch is the fawning responses from some of the commentators.

Mahaney’s most recent estimates are for more than 1 million Kindle 2s to sell this year, and the current sales numbers absolutely support that, based on how the economy goes. Amazon could easily increase production to satisfy a surge in demand.

Our sources on Kindle sales have proven extremely reliable in the past. Last August we nailed the number of Kindle 1 devices sold at that time. And we first broke the news of the Kindle 2 and the new large screen Kindle.

In actuality there is no reliability to his sources because nothing has been said publicly. Also, if these are the numbers now what will the numbers look like when (if) eBooks really take off and they constitute more than 5% of revenue?

Publishing Technology (nee Vista & Ingenta) have announced trials with several publishers that enable e-Book sales directly off the publishers web site (Telegraph):

Publishing Technology is creating a new service which will allow publishers to sell their 'e-books' directly though their own websites.

The company has already been running trials with Random House, Harper Collins and Penguin in a move which could cut out the need for the big internet intermediaries.

Chris Andersen's Booktour company which is identifies when and where authors have events has received $350K in seed money.

Dawson holdings which distributes into the newsagent marketplace in the UK continues to loose clients and it's becoming clear they will have to exit this market (Telegraph):

Dawson Holdings, which distributes magazine and newspaper titles to newsagents, retailers and airlines, said in a trading update today that it expected Telegraph Media Group to "terminate" its deal in the autumn.

Last month Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, and Comag, the joint venture between Condé Naste and the National Magazine Company, announced they would not be renewing contracts with Dawson when they expire in 2010. The two deals accounted for £139m in revenue for Dawson last year.

Dawson also has a library supply business that to-date appears unaffected.

McClatchy newspapers reported that they expect to make $225mm in digital revenue this year which translates to 15% of total revenues. (Reuters)

At McClatchy, 15% of our advertising revenue today comes from online. McClatchy, a company founded before the advent of electric lights, will generate nearly $200 million dollars in digital revenue this year at a higher profit margin than our print business.

What significance is this?

  • Fifteen percent is above the average newspaper publisher’s take from digital
  • $200 million would be almost enough to run The New York Times’s newsroom operations for a year. Not bad.

Higher profit margins than print? We know Gary is a big fan of pop music to highlight his industry presentations, and that he likes the Rolling Stones in particular. Maybe “Time Is on My Side” would be a decent choice for those kinds of numbers.

Qualification from Springer & Candover that the investors are looking for a $500mm partial sale not a sale of the business. Take that with a grain of salt when viewed in the context of the fact that their entire portfolio is under review. (Hedgeweek)

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