@Media and Money: Challenging Times Across All Media


For private equity players in the media space it’s also tough slogging. That was the view of the co-founder and president Royce Yudkoff of Abry Partners, a firm that has invested some $20 billion over the last 20 years in companies in the sector.

The most troubled or challenged at the moment? Not hard to figure: radio, newspapers and local TV stations, all of which have seen their advertising plummet and their approaches to digital not yet pay off.

“Papers are migrating online but for very trivial ad dollars; radio has been hard hit by the recession and local stations as well,”  Yudkoff told the Media and Money conference Friday in New York.

Sub-sectors that are interesting to investors right now are, per Yudkoff, nonadvertising-dependent areas like information and data distributors (Moodys, Dunn & Bradstreet, etc.) and the for-profit college textbook business, which is rapidly and profitably going electronic.

He cited Getty Images as one of the main success stories of a company with deep content which has benefited greatly from digitization. For newspaper publishers, Yudkoff thinks it’ll be five to seven years before things shake out and we see “a smaller, tougher, lower-margin business of fewer players.”

Radio, he thinks is simply misvalued and mis-structured but ultimately will rebound.

Local stations, which have been particularly hard hit, have to do several things: double up in most markets; develop viable Web sites that have new inventory and are hyperlocal; and get their share of retransmission fees for cable carriage.

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