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CalacanisCastBeta23

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CALACANISCAST BETA 23

 

Special guests: Jeff Jarvis (buzzmachine.com) and an undisclosed employee of Tribune Co.

 

In this episode, Jason, Jeff, and "Mr. Tribune" discuss the recent comments by Sam Zell, and the uncertain future of the Tribune Co.


 

Jason: Everybody, we have a very, very special CalacanisCast Beta Number 23 or 24, something like that. Let’s say 23. I’ve got Jeff Jarvis on the phone from New York. He’s very busy but he took some time out. And Jeff, how ya doin?

 

-

 

Jeff: Hey Jason, it’s been too long, good to talk to you.

 

Jason: Yeah, it’s been a long time. Great to talk to you as well. So we also have one of the folks that works at Tribune. Now we can’t say his name because he would get fired for coming on the program, correct Tyler?

 

Tyler: That’s correct.

 

Jason: Okay. So what we’re gonna do, and we’ve checked this guy for credentials, we know like ten people who know him, so at least you know he’s genuine, you know it’s a “he”. And anyway, we’re gonna voice code him, so you may hear a weird voice when you’re listening to the program. That’s the guy who we know and who’s got a lot of inside information to deal. So the topic of the show today is Sam Zell, who bought the Tribune Company, and this all started because he was giving a speech Thursday night at Stamford Law School in Paulo Alto. And this is in a story in the Washington Post written by Frank Ahrens and Karl Vick. Now Karl Vick was gonna be on the program, we just had him on the phone a couple minutes ago.

 

Tyler: Correct.

 

Jason: And then he was like, “I’m not gonna be on the program, I don‘t get any . . .”, and then he was upset ’cause we were having some technical difficulties, and he basically hung up.

 

Tyler: Right.

 

Jason: So Karl Vick, I don’t know, what am I gonna say? The guy’s a journalist, he’s like “I’m just the journalist who reported it.” It was pretty funny ’cause on the thing he said, “I can’t really speak to the topic, I don’t really know anything about it.“, which I thought was pretty funny. So anyway, Karl chickened out, I’m not happy about that. But we have Jeff Jarvis and we have an employee of the Tribune. So the quote that Sam Zell gave, which I immediately did a blog post about when I read it was, if all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?” Zell said, during the question period after his speech, “Not very.” Now Jeff, when you read that quote, what . . . Did anything strike you as particularly odd about that quote?

 

Jeff: Oh yeah, I mean I rolled my eyes and I’m reminded of the argument we’ve been hearing from the French, which is not a compliment in the newspaper business. They’ve been trying to go after Google too, but it’s just brain-dead, because it’s like saying to your newsstand guy, “How dare you make a penny off selling my newspaper!” If you’re not linked and you‘re not searchable, you‘re not gonna be found. Google is the newsstand, it‘s the distribution table, it‘s the network of today and tomorrow. And Google, if you’re smart, is your friend. New York Times, the only bright spot on their PNL is about dotcom where full disclosure is consulted, most of the traffic comes in through Google, half the adverts come through Google and they make millions of dollars a year off this. So it made me nervous for Tribune Company, and you (inaudible) might wanna consider job-hunting if you’re not using it already, because I think that it shows that Zell doesn’t have the strategic view here. Now I hear this too in Europe, I heard from the Rural Association of Newspapers at a conference a year ago in London, and they did the same spiel about “How dare Google make money off of us.” So the Moderator, the head of Fortune Business had asked the audience, “Who agrees?“ About three hands went up. “Who disagrees?” Most hands went up. Most smart media people understand that Google may be the enemy we know, but it’s the enemy we got, and we gotta deal with Google, and to act as if you’re gonna pull yourself out of Google, you might as well just not print your paper.

 

Jason: Now see the thing about this that was interesting about this is, he says in the quote, “If all the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?” First of all, Google is not stealing any of their content. This is just a factually incorrect statement. First of all, Google does not run full stories from any newspaper, they run short excerpts. And you can opt out of it. And on Google’s News, if he’s talking about Google News versus the Search Index, which isn‘t clear here, but Google under no circumstances steals from people. Google gives people the ability to opt out. And Google News has no advertising on it. Google News is just headlines and like the first half of a sentence, and that pushes traffic to their sites. And that means that advertisers can‘t get a news experience from Google anywhere. As opposed to Yahoo which does. In Fact, Syndicate, AP and other things, Reuters, whatever, and I guess Wall Street Journal and a bunch of other services actually put ads around it with a revenue split. But Google doesn’t do that. So a hundred percent of Google’s news traffic gets sent to the publishers, where the only option is to put their ads on. I mean it’s just factually incorrect. So I agree with you Jeff that it was a pretty scary statement. But the guy is a smart guy I guess who made a lot of money. So it’s led everybody I think to this sort of crazy place. So I’m gonna call you Mr. Tribune if that’s okay. Mr. Tribune, say hello.

 

Tribune: That’s fine.

 

Jason: Okay. So you’re not gonna use like a chipmunk voice, are we, or something like that? No.

 

Tyler: No.

 

Jason: So you work at Tribune Company and you hear the news about this, what was the reaction in the office?

 

Tribune: I think there’s been a major mixed reaction in the office. Some people are praising them as a Godsend, ‘cause a lot of people don’t like Tribune, and especially the newspapers are very afraid of Tribune, they’ve been cut, they’ve been cut, they’ve been cut to the bone, to the point where places like the LA Times or Chicago Tribune are worried about their next job just coming from Tribune. Everyone was looking for a knight on the white horse to come to save Tribune. Zell is known as “The Grave-dancer”, because his whole purpose in this real estate, mogul, land, was to find a distressed property, find it in the most distressed moment, save it and then revive it. So they would call him the Grave-dancer because he would revive these destroyed companies.

 

Jason: Right. Which sounds good, that sounds good, like this is, the newspapers are dying. But then he comes out and makes a statement like this that is totally nonsensical. I think, did people respond specifically to that statement in the company, was it like a discussion point at lunch?

 

Tribune: So far we’ve heard a lot of different things about Zell in particular. But what I think he was trying to get to was, because he has his own platforms, because he has LATimes.com, because he has all these different platforms. He wants to bring people directly to his platforms. He’s going, “Yeah, it’s a war on Google, war on Yahoo, war on the major search engines, so he can draw people to his specific to his particular contents. Specific reporters that are embedded say in Iraq, Baghdad have the firsthand information. He’s trying to keep those exclusive on the stories that he wants to share with the world.

 

Jason: Jeff?

 

Jeff: If I may, that shows what an old model that is, where you’ve gotta . . . What that really means, and I’ve worked in the magazine and newspaper business, including the Tribune Company, is that means you’re increasing your marketing cost. You’ve got to spend a lot of money to get people to come to your site. And the same conference where I heard the Rural Association of Newspapers say this a year ago, in this most recent year, the same discussion. And I argued that Yahoo is the last old media company, it’s like a newspaper company, because it controls all news, makes content and then it spends a fortune marketing to get people in there, and then it shows ads to you for as long as you‘ll stay there. Google is of course the new model, where it says, you know, the ad on my blog page makes my page a Google page. And it’s a much better model. And I ask, say that we should be asking in the newspaper business now, in the news business, “What would Google do?”, “WWGD?”

 

Jason: So when you look at the newspaper industry, Jeff, I mean do you think they deserve to go to a certain extent because they have gotten big and fat and lazy to a certain extent? I mean let’s face it, these are very old companies, but they’re great businesses in some regards. But they really have gotten big and fat. I mean are they just not adapting quick enough, is that really the heart of the problem, and Google is just like a sort of scapegoat for them?

 

Jeff: Jason, I’m seeing changes coming about now, I’m seeing kind of the last year with Netwriter and then now the Tribune kind of collapsing was the wake-up call of the industry. But I just blogged today a piece story from New York. What I’ve seen in New York is that the Europeans are hard-hit in the optimism scale and the innovation scale, and they’re seeing the future in doing something. Whereas all the changes here in the last year or two in the US was a lot of hindering. But that’s I think starting to change and a lot of companies who are finally seeing changes coming in were just behind. And the reason is actually, Jason, it’s simple: They were monopolies all these years, they were one-size-fits-all, do everything for everybody, (inaudible) very few competitive markets. Whereas in Europe, especially in London, it’s highly competitive, and that’s made for a lot more depth at that changing.

 

Jason: It seems to me like print, the actual physical burden of printing and shipping and all that kind of stuff is really like an albatross, because they’re so, it’s sort of like the dial-up subscriber business at AOL when I was there. Like it’s such a cash-cow yet it takes so much attention. But it’s very hard to take your attention off of something that’s making ninety percent of your revenue and put it on something that’s making ten percent. I think, is that . . . Let me ask Mr. Tribune. Is that the problem, taking your eyes off of this money-making machine and then trying to do something innovative, is that the struggle?

 

Mr. Tribune: I think that’s exactly the struggle. I think they’ve been doing it a certain way for so many years. And by the way, you’re exactly right, these are not my opinions, these are what I think the company is moving towards: They are trying to slow down the business, and it is a major struggle because it’s worked for so long. They don’t see a lot of growth potential, they’re worried about the growth potential. And what they are looking at immediately is how do we keep our same revenue stream coming in doing the same thing we’ve done for so many years? And in the short term what they’re looking at is they’ve got the political elections coming up, so they’re gonna be fine, because they have so much ad revenue that’s going to go to all the mediums for these next two to three years. After that, there’s not a lot off into the distance, and they have to really learn a new way, a new way to get to their customers, a new way to get their consumers, to get back to the old mediums. It’s gonna be a real struggle, a lot of people are worried.

 

Here’s the two things that I had an issue with, was like the guy Karl Vick who just basically just hung up the phone on us ‘cause he didn’t wanna be on the show ‘cause he couldn’t back up the story that he wrote or he quoted, I don’t know what the story is. But when the Washington Post writes a story like this, this is the great irony, we’re talking here about the newspapers maybe not getting it and moving quick enough. But the Washington Post, which is, what is that like the number three or four paper in the country or something? After New York Times, Wall Street Journal, it’s like them. They print a quote like this and they don’t challenge Zell on it and they don’t even point out that, all the factually incorrect stuff, Google does not steal anything, so to let Zell put a quote in here that newspapers are allowing Google to steal their content, it’s factually incorrect. So I mean it’s a great irony to me that the newspaper is reporting on their demise or this, you know, sea change, and they don‘t even on the ability to, the reporters, the journalists can’t even get the story right number one. But the second thing I wanted to talk to you about, Mr. Tribune, was the structure of this deal and does it make you nervous? Zell put up like what, $300 million or $400 million dollars, this thing is leveraged to the hilt, like I don’t know, billions of dollars in debt. And what does that do to like your pensions and stuff like that, where does that leave . . . ‘Cause it’s employee owned?

 

Mr. Tribune: That’s right. It’s actually a really interesting deal and a lot of people are really excited about it, because they’re taking the company off the big board, they’re taking them off the stock exchange, it’s gonna go private. And because they can make so much profit right now, we‘re looking at just say the LA Times, they’re making a twenty percent profit margin. So say they bring in $250 million dollars net profit each year, Zell is a real estate guy, he realizes that’s just a cash-flow business. If I can leverage it to still make that profit, put that money in my pocket every year, not have to worry about the growth potential that Wall Street always wants to push, that’s what makes the stocks go up, he’s fine with doing it.

 

Jason: But he’s gotta service that debt. I mean that’s a lot of debt we’re talking about.

 

Mr. Tribune: If you can just keep the debt in play and you continue to make those profits, we could leave it there forever.

 

Jason: Jeff, what do you think about the financial arrangement?

 

Jeff: Yeah, I’m sorry, but a business is still a business is still a business, and it’s gotta show growth. You know, and I think it’s a mistake to look for the white knight who’s gonna protect us from the marketplace. The marketplace is our readers and our public reserve, and it’s reality. And at some point or another, you know, Zell’s not in and his heirs are gonna say, “Enough of this.”, just like the LA Times heirs did and say “We want a real business here.“, and so we’ve got to have the discipline to find real business. The structure of the deal is that he got an incredible amount. He put very little cash out, you know, a hell of a lot more money than I have, but maybe you could report it, Jason.

 

Jason: (Laughs.) Not yet.

 

Jeff: But you know, he got, he has an incredible amount of control, the right to veto major business actions. The executives got a lot of stock, yes employees own a majority, but they didn’t, it’s like they had common shares in the market against a two-tier stock system. The employees don’t have the right commensurate with the owners of the company. So Zell did a sweetheart deal. Yeah, he came in like he was a white night, but if you think it’s gonna protect you from the marketplace, I think it’s a very dangerous way to look at this.

 

Jason: Now is it speculation that he is going to peal off the LA Times to unburden himself from some of the debt and maybe give that to Geffen or whoever wanted it?

 

Mr. Tribune: A lot of people, a lot of the Tribune employees that work at the LA Times really want that to happen. If you read the LA Times, every single person that was putting up an offer, they would do another story on another story. When he got it, the first story they ran was a piece on him evicting old people. So immediately you can see that the LA Times has an agenda. They wanna (interrupted).

 

Jason: So you say the LA Times journalists are using the paper to basically profile the potential buyers and push some and maybe knock down others.

 

Mr. Tribune: I think (interrupted).

 

Jason: That’s a pretty good, that’s pretty juicy (laughs).

 

Mr. Tribune: I think in the court of law you could prove that. I think when you’ve got different ideas, and they prop up one side and they prop up another side . . . Everybody has these different ideas. The journalists go after people extra hard, some of the people go after other journalists pretty light.

 

Jason: Alright, I’ll give some inside information Tyler. Should I give some inside information?

 

Tyler: Please do.

 

Jason: So I was approached by a group that was looking to buy the LA Times to be the internet guy. You know, like they were trying to recruit me, and I was like be the internet guy at LA Times, you know?

 

Tyler: They think that you know things about the Internet.

 

Jason: I have some knowledge, I have some web-savvy Internet knowledge and the tubes that make up the trucks that drive down them. And I looked at this when I was talking to them, and they were like “What would you do?”, and duh, duh, duh, and like lunches and stuff like that. And I was like, “Well I don’t think the young people are gonna buy the print newspaper that much in the future, so why don’t you ride that down quickly, the print business and make the print . . . You know, like the New York Times is what, like $1 or $2 a day and it’s $5 on the weekend, and they’ve got a pretty healthy margin. Why don’t you make it like double, like if the New York Times was like $10 bucks on the weekend and LA Times was like $5 bucks during the week . . . So make it like it’s a premium product, then the advertiser would get more premium, you could make it a little bit smaller ‘cause you don’t have to make it appeal to a mass audience as much. And then put the money into online services and more vertical content or whatever. And they liked that idea, except nobody likes to take down the top line number of a business. That is the one thing you could never do. And even if the top line is taking itself down like it is now with the print, nobody wants to accelerate it, they all wanna be in denial because what happens is then the evaluation of the company immediately goes down. This was one of the problems that America Online had when I was there, which was, gee, you know, those dial-up subscribers, like yes, they’re going away in large part, but they’re here today, and they’re boosting up that revenue. So you know, it’s, it really is a conundrum.

 

Jeff: Jason, the real problem here is that the advertisers are behind. Alan Rusbridger who’s the Editor of The Guardian in London and full disclosure as I write and consult for them, draws a chart where he shows one line coming down the declining and revenue of newspapers and he shows another line going up the increasing online. That’s where we’re stuck is the advertisers still value the old where the readers truly value the new. And the real . . . How you get the . . . Once you do, by the way, you’re no longer in a monopoly marketplace, you’re not gonna have the same kind of business you had. It’s reality, live with it.

 

Jason: You’re gonna have to compete. I mea the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal online have gotten their lunch eaten in Gadget and Gizmodo in terms of technology coverage. And I’m sure in terms of gossip and entertainment, Gawker and Defamer have taken a chunk out of that business as well. So they can’t compete with a Nick Denton or you know, a Weblogs, Inc., I don’t think. I mean they’re not gonna be fast and savvy and quick enough. So yeah, that’s a really good point Jeff, is when they go online, they don’t have that distribution advantage that they had in print. Mr. Tribune, do you have something to add?

 

Mr. Tribune: Well if you just look at other, just the broadcast section, when you look at the newspapers, they are their dinosaur. But the broadcast is becoming kind of a sort of dinosaur too. You can see them going to websites interviewing webpage owners like TMZ.com for their entertainment stuff. A lot of the breaking news stuff is coming from the Internet. And what is a little hard to grasp for the journalists is the information is coming from so many different places of the Internet, they can’t keep up. And a lot of times it’s also hard to verify the stories. Because it’s rumored onto the Internet, and then people either factually figure it out a little later or it is, it’s debunked thereafter. But the actual reporting (interrupted).

 

Jason: That’s an interesting point you’re bringing up Mr. Tribune. And what you’re saying is not only is the, if I can paraphrase for you, not only are they at a disadvantage because of print, you know, slowing them down etc., they’re also at a disadvantage because the traditional journalistic model is so methodical in a good way but conversely slow when compared to the free-willing Internet that they’re actually unsuited to keep up, so they’re journalistic principles and ideals actually put them at a disadvantage. Jeff, what do you think of that?

 

Jason: Well I think yeah, I think that’s true that. I think Mr. Tribune is right and so are you, and I think it goes beyond the journalistic piece of it , it’s the whole market. We have to, you know, WWGD, I went home and Google’d it. How do you think of yourself as a distributed beast. And by that model, you should be able to expand to a wider, a looser network than you ever could have before, gotten more journalists than before, gotten more advertisers than ever before. The New York Times should be selling the ads on Nick Denton’s sites. Not having to buy them, not having to pay them, not having to be liable for them. But why not expand your network across that?

 

Jason: Ah, very interesting. So you’re saying use your reach, use your advertising relationships to extend your network beyond your site.

 

Jeff: Exactly. And but don’t do it, you can’t afford anymore to hire everybody to make everything for you. The LA Times was, the Editor, two Editors ago, they’ve gone through many of them. But John Carol was very prideful about how “We write every story and we send people everywhere.” Well why, because you could just link to the news now? Why don’t you do what you do best? The problem was that local coverage in LA is separate under that. Now you just can’t afford to do it all yourself. So what should your relationship be to Weblogs, Inc. before it was bought, or even now?

 

Jason: Yeah!

 

Jeff: Or the blogs that we do and other kind of coverage that we do and subsequently on you two, you could create a much bigger network of stuff that you don’t own if you look at the example of how Google views the Internet.

 

Jason: Yeah. And you know what the problem is Jeff, they have a major pride issue. I mean the New York Times is a great example. I know you’ve done consulting for About.com, not the New York Times. But there’s a place where they have major pride in what they do, it’s you know, and they would, you know, I mean they had a hard enough time introducing Blogs, that took them, ’cause I was discussing it with them. I was at Weblogs, Inc. You want some more inside information Tyler. When we did the first, we were doing like the sort of investment in it, I went to the New York Times. Martin and the guys over there, we had meetings, and tried to get them to invest in Weblogs, Inc. and they didn’t think it was gonna be a big thing. It’s kind of ironic. But they just don’t think, they have this problem putting their name on something. So the About.com acquisition from everything I’ve heard from people there, like the journalists I’ve talked to. Like the journalists look at About.com with total contempt. “The quality is terrible!”, and blah, blah, blah. But you know what, there’s a lot of people who are going there for apple pie recipes and they’re totally happy with it. And so it’s (interrupted).

 

Jeff: Yeah. And you know, again I consulted at About.com for a year and a half and so I learned exactly how powerful it is, and it’s really incredible. And you know it doesn’t do news, it does service journalism. But it has an incredible breadth of content that no single news organization could have ever created.

 

Jason: Right. Because it’s a network, and the leveraging network effect. So Jeff, let me ask you this: I hand you the keys to the LA Times today. What are the three things you’d do in year one?

 

Jeff: I’d say “No thank you.”, and walk out of the room.

 

Jason: Okay. So I handcuff you to a desk at the LA Times and say, “If you leave within five years you’re gonna be murdered.”, so what do you do, what are the first three things you’d do?

 

Jeff: Well let me answer it two ways. First is if I were David Geffen, I wouldn’t end up in the room with that conversation and I would go start something brand new for a fraction of the cost (inaudible). But I’m not, you’ve imprisoned me as you would do Jason, you’ve been trying to do that for years.

 

Jason: Exactly.

 

Jeff: I think that I would hold a meeting with my executives and then my staff and say okay, “You’ve gotta put a date in the future.”, doesn’t matter what the date is, let’s say it’s five years in the future, that you don’t have a newspaper. Now in fact we might, but let’s imagine we don’t. What are we? Then I’d say we’re gonna cut back on all the commodity crap that we’ve been, that the Internet now allows us to link to. So we’re not gonna rewrite any piece stories, we’re not gonna go cover all this stuff. We’re on the wall, we’re gonna do what we do specially. We’re gonna have to decide what that is, what we’re reporting. And then I would say “I wanna get down, I wanna hear a (inaudible) scale by using people out there in the community in ways that we never could before.” And then the retraining them, enabling them in other ways. We’ve got to, I mean we have to make this sustainable and profitable and we’re gonna cut back in certain areas. We don’t need to run stock tables, we don’t need to run (inaudible), we don’t need to have golf columns, we don’t need any movie critics because the audience is better critics. What do we do well? And I would say that’s local reporting? And how could we do more of that and do it better and with the people.

 

Jason: Wow, I think that’s a great answer. What I love about your answer specifically is your paradigm shift test. I’m calling it paradigm shift test. But, you know, if we absolutely had to exit this current business within five years, what would we be? And just as a (interrupted).

 

Jeff: And then again, you may not. You might find that people will buy the paper for more than ever, and that’s fine.

 

Jason: Right.

 

Jeff: You’ve gotta (inaudible) that. But the other thing that’s crucial here, Jason, is that all the conversations that are at the editorial end of it, we’ve got to have innovation of the business end. We’ve got to think about things like those ads networks, we’ve got to think about ways we can be TV and sell ads in new ways.

 

Jason: You know it’s interesting, because you know, we had this conversation, you and I had this conversation three years ago, maybe four years ago now, when I was telling you . . . We had breakfast one morning, I was telling you about the idea of Weblogs, Inc., and your advice was exactly the same back then, and correct, which was, you know, “It’s the business model stupid. What is unique about your business model”. And the business model for Weblogs, Inc. was we didn’t have an office, we had distributed work force. We paid them well, but we didn’t, you know, have to have them all on staff.

 

Jeff: More importantly Jason, you were nimble about that.

 

Jason: Yeah.

 

Jeff: ‘Cause you started one business model and you shifted a bit. And that, you know, even though you might have gotten a lot of crap for that, it was a smart and wise thing to do.

 

Jason: Yeah, that was absolutely the . . . When we went to a multi-brand strategy, that’s when we broke out. So Mr. Tribune, any closing thoughts here on Mr. Zell and what’s, you know, gone down the last couple days? I mean what do you think his interest is in this? Do you have any like sort of, what does your gut tell you, like is the guy doing it because he liked the cash, is he bored, is he like a kook? I mean what’s the story. I don’t know the man, so I can’t answer the question. The guy’s probably brilliant. We’ll have him on the show at some point. We called his people.

 

Tyler: We called his people, they said he’s not available for comment this week.

 

Jason: So maybe next week we’ll have Zell on the show. He seems like an intelligent guy.

 

Mr. Tribune: I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s one of the smartest businessmen out there. A real estate mogul, billionaire. I think what he is looking at the Tribune as, a lot of the people talk, or you had mentioned earlier about growth potential, every company needs to grow. I don’t think he’s worried about that. I think he’s worried of a carwash turning in exact profit every year, same profit, he can count on it, he knows that we’ve got broadcast, print, and a lot of different assets that he can really get his hands into. And I really think that if you put someone into let’s just say the LA Times, and they were really, wanted to reform the LA Times, they should do exactly what they’ve been good at in the past. Put the money up front, put the money on the front lines, put the money on the journalists, and bring that voice of God back to the LA Times.

 

Jason: Invest. Jeff, why do you think Zell did this deal? What makes the guy tick?

 

Jeff: I think that you could argue that newspaper companies are undervalued, he understands that. Though on the other hand, you’ve got the other great investor of . . . Now I’m having a mental block. Bill Gates’ good friend, (inaudible).

 

Jason: What’s his name? Warren Buffet.

 

Jeff: Thank you. You know, he’s singing a dirge for newspapers and he certainly knows how to buy undervalue. But nonetheless, you could argue it’s under valued. Yes. I think there’s also, it’s a mogul moment. Moguls love to own papers, they love to think that they have that . . . Rupert Murdock says that he’d hold onto the money-losing New York Post because it is his bullies pulpit. And this is a smart, ruthless businessman who knows better, but he holds onto it for that reason. But he should beware of the story of tyranny in Philadelphia who thought, “Oh, okay, this is (inaudible), I know how to run this (inaudible)”, and it’s a mess. So I think there’s gonna be a lot of struggles going forward. And I’m not saying who should have bought them. I’m not saying Zell will do a bad job, but the white knight has not arrived in town yet.

 

Jason: Let me, I’ll give my two cents. I’ve got a couple of friends who are billionaires. They do things, I’m not saying that like in a, you know, whatever, I mean I know a couple of guys who invest in my company who are billionaires. They do things for two reasons: One, it’s fun, you know, and it’s like exciting for them and fun. And two, and the second one is that it’s a business opportunity. This guy’s doing it because he has some affinity for the business. He must on some level have an affinity for the business, because to be totally honest, the returns you’re talking about, the ten percent he makes a year, whatever, he can just put this in bonds and go do something else fun. He could go, there’s a million different ways for him to put that money to work and do fine. And this has risk associated with it, he can get washed out I guess if this thing, you know, becomes a bust. So he must be doing it for some, either ego or fun, reason, and it will be very interesting to see if when he starts getting his ass kicked, which is, you know, everybody in the newspaper business is getting their ass kicked basically. That’s pretty much, it’s gonna be a war for like three or four years for those guys. I mean it was like working at AOL, which basically meant you’re just basically trying to, you know, as these million dollar subscribers leave you try to fill them in with advertisers. It’s a brutal environment to work in. The paradigm shift when it’s occurring inside your company, it’s brutal. When you’re the one doing the shifting, it’s fun. But when you’re the one being shifted, it’s not fun. And now he’s basically buying himself into a shift, it’s gonna be brutal. I’m very interested to see when this thing, like you’re saying, the Philadelphia Enquirer Jeff, when this thing starts becoming like not fun, man that’s gonna be hard. I’d be interested to see if he holds onto it. So anyway, this was a very great, spontaneous CalacanisCast, a little bit of technical difficulties Tyler. I know Tyler’s . . . I don’t know why we’re paying you this kind of money for the . . . Oh wait, we’re not paying you that much, okay. It makes me feel better that we’re not, we’re underpaying you. But Mr. Tribune . . . thank you Jeff Jarvis for being here. Obviously he’s, I wanna have you in studio, next time you’re in LA, you have to come in the studio.

 

Jeff: Well (inaudible, mumbled!) breakfast or lunch I think.

 

Jason: I think I do, I think I do. So I will see you in New York. Thanks for being on the program. Mr. Tribune, I mean this was lucky to get an actual Tribune employee in here, that was a brilliant move Tyler. So Tyler, all the technical screw-ups, having a Tribune employee with the voice modulated, that almost makes up for the technical screw-ups today. Almost. You’re halfway there. But Mr. Tribune, thank you for being here. Any closing comments Mr. Tribune?

 

Mr. Tribune: I think it’s an exciting time to be in the news business.

 

Jason: Okay, it is.

 

Jeff: And I agree with that, it most definitely is.

 

Jason: It definitely is an exciting time. And for some it’s gonna be . . . You know, and every time there’s a paradigm shift, you know, it’s like they say about paradigm shifts, you know, “People don’t shift, they die.”, you know, like it’s basically like a lot of people in the paradigm, you know, they just, you know, they die, and that’s when they go away. So it’s gonna be very hard for I think some people, a lot of pain. But with every pain there’s opportunity. So thank you for tuning into CalacanisCast. You put the ads on there. And what’s coming up? We have some stuff coming up that’s good.

 

Tyler: You want me to spill some beans?

 

Jason: Should we spill beans? Yeah, give us a couple.

 

Tyler: Pres Hilton.

 

Jason: Pres Hilton’s gonna be on the program.

 

Tyler: Well you’re thinking (inaudible) suddenly and you’re out of time.

 

Jason: Ah, okay. So Pres Hilton’s gonna be on the show, he’s great. I love Pres.

 

Tyler: That’s what I’m looking forward to.

 

Jason: That’ll be fun. The Queen of all Media in studio.

 

Tyler: Yeah, speaking of news, you know.

 

Jason: Speaking of news, exactly. And what else, we have those people from, what’s that website?

 

Tyler: Brand new website.

 

Jason: Brand new website.

 

Tyler: “I’m in like with you”.

 

Jason: “I’m in like with you“, this is a very good website. And also, get David Sax from Genie Program. ‘Cause I played with Genie the other day and now we have like three family members on it, and everybody’s oh, it’s, you know, Nick Denton was beating it up, whatever, got this huge billion-dollar valuation. I’m like this company’s worth a hundred million dollar valuation, it is so God-damn addictive. My Mom went in there, the family tree thing, my Mom went in there and filled in like my little and my Great-Great Grandfather.

 

Tyler: I think the Mormons alone could . . .

 

Jason: The Mormons alone could be (laughs)!

 

Tyler: ‘Cause t they’re really into that.

 

Jason: Thanks everybody for tuning into CalacanisCast. We’ll see you next time. Thank you Go Daddy, our sponsor. You put the Go Daddy on the front as well. Thank you to Podtech for hosting, Podtech.net. And yeah, you can put 23, Episode 23. Thank you.

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