Reader's Digest Bankruptcy: The Latest Print Media Woe


Print journalism had a bad few days. The Reader's Digest filed for Chapter 11 for the second time in three years, with $1.1 billion in assets and $1.2 billion in liabilities. The transaction will buy the publisher time and decrease debt service, but that is about all. The magazine's many editions are read by the old and undereducated. Its Internet presence is inadequate to offset tumbling print sales, which have done so much damage to so many publications that were once the core of a booming industry.

The news comes just days after rumors that Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) will sell most of its publications into a venture with publisher Meredith. Time Inc. may keep Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Time. These three may be handed to media veteran Jeff Zucker, who is the new head of CNN. CNN Money is already the portal for Fortune and Money. And Sports Illustrated has relied on CNN for traffic as well, although that prized position recently was taken by the Bleacher Report.

For the sector to be completely transformed, all that is left is for Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who loaned money to the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) several years ago (and was paid back) to buy the ancient newspaper. Another American industry will have been destroyed.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Bankruptcy, Old Media, Rumors Tagged: NYT, TWX