Thursday, July 10, 2008

We're Concerned About Salon's Future

Salon's annual report has been published, and it's not good news. You can read the whole thing yourself, but here are the highlights:

"Premium subscriptions have been decreasing since Salon's quarter ended December 31, 2004 when paid subscriptions peaked at approximately 89,100. As of June 1, 2008, Salon had only 32,000 paid subscribers, [many of them lost in just the past year]."
Could the return of Camille Paglia, the loss of Steve Benen, ongoing sexism hysteria, Hillary campaigning, multiple stories about bacon and pork, and Joan's constant and steady stream of hack concern-trolling and carping have anything to do with driving away more and more people? Are all those people in the letters threads who say "That's it, I'm outta here, actually making good on their promise, and not renewing their subscriptions?
"Salon has incurred significant net losses and negative cash flows from operations since its inception. As of March 31, 2008, Salon had an accumulated deficit of $96.3 million."
Joan better be hoping that MSNBC has a job for her, because the bonuses are going to be pretty scarce this year in Salonland. (Maybe they'll just hand out slabs of bacon as bonuses?)
"Salon's net revenue decreased 3% to $7.5 million in the year ended March 31, 2008 from $7.7 million in the year ended March 31, 2007."
Way to go, Joan! You're running a political newsmagazine, in a campaign period when advertising has been strong, and you managed to lose advertising. Hmmm, I wonder if Arianna is losing advertising...
"Advertising revenues remained flat from one year ago at $5.4 million for the year ended March 31, 2008, as sales trailed off in the fourth quarter, despite record audiences, due to sales force turnover."
Sales force turnover? Let's just say it straight -- the sales force quit! Those sales people were rats leaving a sinking ship. (Either that, or they were Obama supporters who were finally fed up working for a liberal newsmagazine that seems hellbent on electing John McCain...) Plus, how exactly do you go about selling advertising on article after article about sexism, poor Hillary Clinton should have won, and bacon? A thankless job, that.
"An important factor in increasing advertising revenues in future periods, including Salon's peak third quarter ending December 31, is attracting more unique visitors to Salon's Website. Attracting more unique Website visitors is important to Salon as they generate page views, and each page view becomes a potential platform for serving advertisements."
But at least NOW, does everyone understand why Joan and company keep writing controversial, provocative, pointless concern troll posts whose sole purpose is to enrage people? It's the page views, stupid... (As for the bacon and pork, it's clear they aspire to getting the Pork Producer's Council as a major advertiser. Or they're trying to piss of Muslims and Jews.)
"...substantial doubt exists as to Salon's ability to continue as a going concern because of Salon's recurring operating losses, negative cash flow and accumulated deficit."
Aha, now we know why Joan throws herself at MSNBC with such gusto. If Salon doesn't fire her first, the whole operation still may be going down kablooey.

So Joan's desperation makes sense. 50 approaching, retirement looming, kid in college -- she needs a job. If Salon's going to go down the tubes, she wants to be positioned.

But poor "Mini-Me" (aka, Rebecca Traister). She has to be wondering if Joan's going to take her along when she bails on Salon for MSNBC!


stich said...

Walsh's "Betrayed by Obama" had the shortest shelf life of any Salon blog I've seen since I've been reading Salon. It was up all of eight hours and then bam! - "thread closed." Is somebody getting the message? Does it need to be rubbed in a little more? Note to Salon's editor: You write it, I'll rub it.

gezelligtexas said...

Right on!

Loving the blog, guys. Keep it up! (You should really be giving red stars to everyone who agrees with you. C'mon guys. Haven't you learned anything?)

rwanderman said...

I've now asked four times for a refund on my subscription and get no reply from them. I made the mistake last year of reupping for two years, I just want year two back but they won't talk to me.

That alone pisses me off but your post is right on the money and if I were Joan I'd be worried. I hope this gets national media attention, I really do. Joan has taken what was a first rate site and driven it down the toilet. What a great loss.

rwanderman said...

"Production and content expenses during the year ended March 31, 2008 were $5.5 million versus $5.2 million for the year ended March 31, 2007, an increase of $0.3 million. The 6% increase primarily reflects an increase in staff and benefit costs."

She no doubt gave herself a raise in a negative cash flow environment. Wonderful business sense Joan.

stich said...

rwanderman, ring a refund out of them!