This is from billionaire Buffett’s Annual Letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (2012), published Friday March 1, 2013:
First, his concept of “news”:
News, to put it simply, is what people don’t know that they want to know. And people will seek their news– what’s important to them – from whatever sources provide the best combination of immediacy, ease of access, reliability, comprehensiveness and low cost. The relative importance of these factors varies with the nature of the news and the person wanting it.
And then his vision of the contemporary “newspaper”:
“[BH Vice-Chairman] Charlie [Munger] and I believe that [news]papers delivering comprehensive and reliable information to tightly-bound communities and having a sensible Internet strategy will remain viable for a long time. We do not believe that success will come from cutting either the news content or frequency of publication. Indeed, skimpy news coverage will almost certainly lead to skimpy readership. And the less-than-daily publication that is now being tried in some large towns or cities – while it may improve profits in the short term – seems certain to diminish the papers’ relevance over time. Our goal is to keep our papers loaded with content of interest to our readers and to be paid appropriately by those who find us useful, whether the product they view is in their hands or on the Internet.”
Utterly fascinating, for me, to see a quite substantial section devoted to the newspaper industry. It sets out Buffett’s thoughts about the future of print in an internet-mediated age. Buffett announces that BH has in the past fifteen months acquired 28 daily newspapers in America, at the cost of $344 million. Interesting. He then goes on to explain why he’s done that, despite constantly telling shareholders “in these letters and at our annual meetings that the circulation, advertising and profits of the newspaper industry overall are certain to decline.”
Worth reading in full, here
RELATED: Read a previous blog of mine: #DigitalJournalism101 – lessons from the FT