Tribune Company President Jack Fuller‘s keynote yesterday at the Online News Association annual conference contained two remarks of note:
First, he remarked that his company has spent US$600 million (net of revenues!) developing online services for Tribune’s newspapers and broadcast stations. Although much of that includes Tribune’s defensive investment in online classified advertising companies (such as CareerBuilder.com), it’s still a remarkable expense for just one news company! We think that If you were to add the similar figures for other major news companies (New York Times, Knight Ridder, Hearst, Gannett, Post-Newsweek, Cox, etc.), the amount that news companies have spent on online operations during the past decade probably surpasses US$2 billion.
Given that expense, his second major point shouldn’t be surprising.