martes, abril 17, 2007

¿Por qué los millonarios quieren tener un medio?

La respuesta parece más o menos obvia. Alvaro Saieh tomó el control de Copesa, luego del caso Chispas, un momento en que los empresarios emergentes vieron como incierto. Sebastián Piñera necesitaba una plataforma para su carrera presidencial (o una barrera de contención) y Ricardo Claro fortalecer su línea de influencia. Sin duda, el dueño de Megavisión es el que más abiertamente recurre a sus medios. Fuera de Chile la ecuación se repite, pero hoy se abren otras puertas al clásico análisis que se hace sobre este tema. Son los millonarios los que cambiarán la faz de los diarios o detendrán su caída, qué tipo de empresas serán estos medios manejados por gente que no tiene idea de este negocio o que sólo le ve bajo el concepto de la rentabilidad, podremos insistir en la insana lógica de pedirle a los diarios y a la TV que no sean un producto comercial y se deban a los antiguos valores que, supuestamente, los motivaban. El artículo de Vanity Fair no resuelve las dudas sobre lo que pasa en Chile o Latinoamérica, pero sí da luces de cómo se ve el mundo de las comunicaciones manejados desde la perspectiva de los millonarios. Los casos de Gannett, Tribune Company y Knight Ridder son excelentes ejemplos.
I was invited the other day to stop in for an off-the-record visit with one of the really, really rich men who are lining up to buy the country's biggest newspapers. In addition to his own billions, he had lots of billionaire friends, he said, who were also interested in the newspaper business, and, as a benchmark, he pointed out, The New York Times had a market value of only $3.3 billion. So what if, say, the Times shareholders—this billionaire was interested as well, albeit for lesser amounts, in Newsday and The Boston Globe and the L.A. Times and The Wall Street Journal—were offered a 50 percent, or even 100 percent, pop? I mean, he said, come on.
It was just a market anomaly—the kind which opportunity is made from—that newspapers were suddenly worth much less to mere mortal shareholders than they were to a new, assertive, patriarchal class of multi-billionaires.

This billionaire—an appropriately larger-than-life character, remarkably fit (I re-evaluated my own diet and exercise regimen), in a vast office filled with knickknacks and press coverage and separate seating areas, with, like so many of his fellow billionaires, not enough to do with his great energy—immediately confused my role. In the kind of mix-up that perhaps one might see if he does take over one of these papers, he clearly saw me not as a reporter but as a helper. A collaborator. Indeed, I gossiped handily.

In a way, it was good that he recognized he needed some help (and, possibly, a sign of humility), because, in fact, he knew nothing whatsoever about the newspaper business, or news. Zip. Nada. I am not sure he quite understood that it was a bleak business. I offered that there are many people who believe that the commercial viability of big-city dailies will be kaput within five years.

He said, with affable certainty, and as though agreeing with me, Oh, but there will always be lots and lots of people who want to read a newspaper.
I pointed out that, actually, only older people read a daily paper—average age: 56.
He said that, in his opinion, when people got married and settled down, that's when they'd start reading a paper. Why, he was just talking to X—a famous captain of finance—who agreed with him. In fact, said my billionaire, they would start reading a paper—these hypothetical newlyweds—if, if, they could start getting news without all the opinion. Keep the opinion on the editorial page!

But, most of all—and here the billionaire's eyes really focused—newspapers had to stop being so anti-business. This country was being ruined by the anti-business press. Sarbanes-Oxley, the federal business regulations destroying our competitive advantage, was all due to the anti-business press!

But what about selling advertising?, I asked. It's an ever more competitive and cutthroat world.
He tsked. His view was clear: only the weak-willed and pantywaist could not sell in a difficult market.

Anyway, in short order, the billionaire checked his watch, and I was dismissed, although with the promise of future consultations.

"He doesn't have a clue," I said to one of his aides on the way out.
The aide said, brightly, "He's probably the leading expert in buying businesses he knows nothing about."

Out in Chicago, in a far different reality, I was at a meeting of new-media types about the future of news: user-generated, social-network, Web 3.0, intracranial-chip, and so on. Forget newspapers—digital news was about to flatten broadcast too. That was the subject: who'd be the next big brand—the CNN (though it would not be CNN), or the New York Times (though it would not be The New York Times), or the Google (though it would probably not even be Google)—of the new-news world. Or would the whole idea of news brands die a whimpering death?


2 Comentarios:

Blogger Miguel Ortiz dijo...

Los que todo lo tienen quieren tener un medio porque creen que con eso pueden tener lo único que les falta... y no saben que con sólo tener el medio, y nada más, en realidad lo tendrían todo. Incluido el medio.

Salu2, buen blog!

11:51 p. m.  
Blogger bautista dijo...

Interesante artículo, se podría decir que un millonario sin medio, es un millonario rasca.
Felicitaciones por el blog.

1:15 p. m.  

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