Many see newspapers as a declining industry; Warren Buffett sees the benefit of local focus in the news industry. Newspapers with community oriented readers are the only ones capable of delivering one-of-a-kind local news. As a newspaper delivery boy and now investor, Buffett will own 63 newspapers from Richmond-based Media General Inc. by June 25.
Buffett along with the Times-Dispatch staff are excited and optimistic about this new ownership. Many see this as a better opportunity for them to be more innovative with newspapers. The staff has a faith in the newspaper industry in both its printed and digital form.
We all know about Buffett’s reputation for investing in distressed companies or industries and his track record for making them successful. While he doesn’t hit on 100% of his investments, he obviously makes more right decisions than wrong ones. As the newspaper industry continues to predict its own death news like this should help turn the tide. This isn’t Buffett’s first foray into the printed page. Just last November Buffett paid $150M for his hometown Omaha World-Herald Co.
Buffett’s confidence in the medium stems from his feeling that people still want and need local information and will continue to turn to their local newspaper, in print or digital form, to get it. Berkshire Hathaway held its annual conference earlier this month and Buffett was quoted as saying "In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper."
Consumers see value in local news and advertisements. Most of consumers’ spending is spent at stores within 20 miles from their homes. This supports Buffett’s assertions that the paper is the local market source, and advertising agencies and clients should find media buyers who can target hyper-local audiences through ZIP code and zoning analysis. This will help determine which publications can reach specific demographics in specific ZIP codes.
Check out “Instagram for Brands – Authentic Community Engagement” to read how other brands are engaging with consumers and their communities.