By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Time is not predicting the Globe’s demise

First of all, let’s dispense with the fiction that Time magazine is predicting the Boston Globe may go out of business or cease publishing its print edition sometime this year. Universal Hub and Jessica Heslam wrongly attribute the prediction to Time. Bostonist almost gets it right, but is unclear enough that readers might still think this is coming from Time.

In fact, the source of this rather startling prediction is Douglas McIntyre, a blogger for 24/7 Wall Street — not exactly the ghost of Henry Luce. Time just happens to run the feed on its Web site. (Here’s a look at the site’s syndication service.) I’ve interviewed McIntyre. He’s a smart, knowledgeable guy, but it’s fair to say that he likes to be a provocateur.

You will notice, too, that McIntyre repeats that bit about the Globe’s being worth only $20 million. In fact, as the Boston Business Journal reported recently, a more logical number is a shade under $200 million — far short of the $1.1 billion that the New York Times Co. paid for it (in 1993 dollars, no less), but a lot more than $20 million. I know of no one who ever thought the $20 million figure was credible.

The Globe is struggling mightily, but its Web site,, attracts more than 5 million unique visitors a month, and its paid print circulation — about 325,000 on weekdays and 500,000 on Sundays — is, though far short of the glory days, plenty enough to attract a decent amount of advertising if we weren’t in the midst of a brutal recession.

So can we please get real?

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  1. lkcape

    “…its paid print cirulation…is, though far short of the glory days, plenty enough to attract a decent amount of advertising if we weren’t in the midst of a brutal recession….”The Globe‘s problem, and that of the print media, however, is just that. We ARE in the midst of a brutal recession, and it is likely that the ad revenue take will be suppressed for quite some time.As a long-time subscriber of the Globe, I have watched its quality decline along with its advertising base.It is hard to say which was the cause and which was the effect, but once started the two factors have fed on each other.The Globe‘s future may well be beyond its control. But management should clearly understand that what they are doing now is not working well for them.Reprints of AP stories of the past news cycle and devotion to “columnist” journalism may be convenient short term, but not necessarily effective in reversing the downward spiral.As for the relative worth of the asset? $200 Million is only there if someone is actually willing to pay that amount. In this downward spiral and recessionary times, that value could easily be much lower. (I agree, though, that the $1.1 billion paid by the NY Times Company seems less of a bargain today than it did in 1993.)

  2. rozzie02131

    I just found this alleged prediction from Time Magazine via NewsMax, the right wing propaganda machine referred to me by Google News. The headline reads “Time Names 10 Newspapers Set to Fold.” Just a pure lie. Thanks for pointing this out.

  3. twallack

    Oddly, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer didn’t make the list — even though it could stop publishing as early as this week.

  4. John Gatti Jr

    The daily du jour of bad news, shocking news, and sad news of all media financial problems, bankruptcies, mergers, layoffs, advertising revenue droughts and disinformation continues.I want all the dailies that I read and listen to survive.Day after day newsrooms and staff sstruggle to survive operating more with least syndrone. Great journalists leave the profession because of low pay and uncertain future.Trying to be positive for the future is most difficult as I watch the traditional media reinvent themselves.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    twallack: The P-I is in McIntyre’s lede. I guess he’s counting it as already gone.

  6. Ron Newman

    If Time magazine doesn’t want people to make this mistake, perhaps they should be a lot more careful about what external content they allow their logo to be attached to? The Time brand implies a certain level of journalistic fact-checking that was not in evidence here.Let this be a warning to other news media who are tempted to rebrand content from bloggers.

  7. cavard

    Thanks for providing some needed context Dan. I knew there was more to the story than meets the eye.

  8. rozzie02131

    The virus spreads: This morning’s Metro, crediting itself, repeats that Time is predicting the end of the Globe. You’d think they would do some fact-checking when talking about their 49% owner.

  9. Ron Newman

    And I just now had to stop it again at the Davis Square LiveJournal.This isn’t the fault of all the people reading it who see the big red TIME logo. It’s TIME’s fault for letting the story go out this way.

  10. Judy Meredith

    Thanks very much for this. I was really worried. Think this analysis will appear in either the Globe or Herald or Boston Business Journal or any MSM?

  11. Dave McPherson

    Let’s get real?Then take a look at the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s daily circulation is 339,000, according to AP, and its Web site ranks right behind in terms of newspaper web site traffic, according to Nielsen Online.The Chronicle is on life support with its largest union agreeing to concessions to keep the paper open. I’m not predicting the Globe’s demise, Dan, but I would not be so quick to dismiss the possibility. If it can happen in San Francisco, it can happen in Boston.

  12. Peter Porcupine

    Mr. McPherson – Indeed, MANY strange things are happening. Dave Kibbe was just let go by the CC Times, as Ottaway chose to close just about the last of the independent State House bureaus.

  13. turnaroundmanag8

    The number of unique visitors at, as you have given it, is fairly small and is certainly not large enough to bring in much revenue.To say a newspaper which loses $50 million a year is worth $200 million is not a figure you would ever get a media investment banker to agree is accurate. If NYT could get that price, it would take the money and runDouglas A. McIntyre

  14. Dan Kennedy

    Douglas: Thanks for checking in. Please don’t make it sound like we’re all dummies. All you’re telling us is that you disagree with Craig Huber of Barclays Capital, who recently pegged the value of the Globe at $192.8 million.I suspect these numbers are all a joke in this environment anyway. If the value of the Globe is what someone is willing to pay, then it’s probably zero, and will be until the recession starts to lift and people can assess its prospects more realistically. No?

  15. Brett

    The Boston Globe and New York Times will be relics of the 20th century just like General Motors and Lehman Brothers. In my view, corporations with all the MBA management overhead and stockholder expectations will find it difficult to survive in the lean, digital era running media. There just isn’t the revenue to support the overhead.In some ways, we are going to 17th century journalism. Online media will be association owned or family owned.Think back to Addison and Steele’s Tatler. Put it online. That’s the future.

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