February 27, 2009 8:10 AM
Cablevision Systems Corp. COO Tom Rutledge told analysts yesterday that the company took a sizable hit last quarter, mostly because of its acquisition of Long Island, N.Y.-based Newsday.
To stem the blood flow from Newsday, Rutledge told analysts that it would begin charging the newspaper’s subscribers for access to its online edition.
And that’s a big move down a slippery slope, considering that most of the country’s newspapers, with the exception of the Wall Street Journal, offer readers their online content for free.
So does Cablevision, a multiple system cable operator, know something about the newspaper industry that it just became immersed in last year that old-time, traditional publishers don’t know?
You have to wonder, given that EW Scripps, publisher of the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News, is printing its last edition of the battered newspaper today, having failed to find a buyer.
I doubt Cablevision will succeed with its move to charge for Newsday’s online content, given that readers in Long Island have many other newspaper options.
Anyone think Cablevision will succeed with this rather stunning endeavor?