How Much Do You Think the Boston Globe is Worth?
The media-industry parlor game du jour: guessing at the value of the embattled Boston Globe, an impressive newspaper that is owned by The New York Times Company and lost nearly $50 million last year. The Times media critic David Carr asked six experts in the field of newspaper valuation to try and put a price tag on it.The guesses range from $250 million on the high end to a suggestion that The New York Times Co. would actually have to pay someone $10 to 20 million dollars to take the failing property off their hands (amazingly, this was suggested by more than one commentator). But most of the pundits agree that at the very least, the sizable physical assets of the Globe-from its real estate holdings to printing presses and delivery trucks-are worth a market price, probably around $100 million.The more interesting part of this exercise is following the logic of those who've been asked to share their opinions. One of my favorite observations comes from Mark Edmiston, who talks about why simply focusing on the internet (as opposed to print) isn't a panacea: "It means re-thinking the whole model, i.e. stop worrying about how to save the paper and start taking the journalistic assets and finding multiple ways of delivering what Bostonians need, when they need it, and where they need it." And my favorite comment in the whole piece comes from Mike Simonton, who discusses why a paper as venerable as the Globe is not, in fact, too big to fail: "It's important to note that qualitatively an entity can serve a valuable purpose in society and yet have no positive quantitative economic value." That's a bummer.Photo (cc) by Flickr user Xosé Castro.