Hawaii newspaper shakeup: the business implications - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii newspaper shakeup: the business implications

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Keahi Tucker spoke with Hawaii News Now's business reporter Howard Dicus via Skype Thursday about the business implications of the newspaper shake-up in Hawaii.

KEAHI: If it makes business sense for the Honolulu Advertiser to sell, why does it make business sense for the Bulletin to buy?

HOWARD: Some of it is a difference of corporate culture. David Black, the owner the Star- Bulletin, pretty much runs his own empire and he doesn't mind working in a competitive environment.

Gannett is a larger corporation that thinks more like a big corporation. They have been cutting jobs all over the country in order to stay profitable in a time over the past year when their ad revenue has gone down 18%. An enormous drop, some of which may not be recession-caused, but it could be the permanent result of people getting more of their news on the internet.

So against that backdrop, the Advertiser owner Gannett, which is also the owner of USA Today, is quite possibly happy to get out of the only remaining market where it does not enjoy a monopoly. Black, on the other hand, likes owning a newspaper here in Hawaii. The only thing that has been hamstringing him on Oahu has been an aging printing plant. By acquiring the Advertiser, he gets a state-of-the-art printing plant in Kapolei that was built in 2004. That gives him a lot of possibilities he didn't have before.

KEAHI: I read a quote online attributed to David Black in which he said something to the effect of ‘a lot of newspapers haven't tapped into advertising revenue as much as their potential'.

HOWARD: If he believes that, it will be very interesting to see what he can do with a paper that has twice the circulation of the one that he has been owning. This is déjà vu all over again for. Originally back in the seventies, Chinn Ho sold his newspaper to Gannett. The one he sold was the Bulletin. Gannett traded up to the Advertiser later, and now we see Black in a position to do something very much like that.

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