One of the many ways that Warren Buffett started making money as a child was with a newspaper route. In fact, Buffett holds a newspaper tossing contest every year at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting and he owns several newspapers. However, even Buffett had to admit that the newspaper business isn’t doing so well, and that things aren’t looking up.
This week, Berkshire Hathaway’s largest newspaper division, BH Media Group, has announced that it will be cutting 289 jobs, including eliminating 108 vacant positions. The removed positions are at newspapers all across the country and many relate directly to the printing side of the business. The reason given for the eliminated positions include reduced circulation and loss of advertising revenue in the print portion of the business.
“While more readers than ever turn to our digital products, our digital revenue is not growing fast enough yet to offset print revenue losses from both advertising and circulation,” Terry Kroeger, president and CEO of BH Media wrote in a memo to employees last week. “Therefore, we need to cut our expenses.”
BH Media Group owns dozens of newspapers, including the Omaha World-Herald, Tulsa World, Roanoke Times, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and others. According to statements from several of the news organizations, the company is looking to focus its papers more on digital content in the future.
“Our business model is continuing to change as our audience grows to a level we haven’t seen before,” said Bill Masterson, publisher of Tulsa World. “We now reach more readers online and in print than ever before. Much of that growth has been in digital services and providing content that readers access primarily on their phones. That has forced us to adjust.”