Guess I’ll not chase those outstanding invoices then

The newspaper publisher Johnston Press has confirmed it is ending its debt crisis by entering administration and handing control to its lenders, as revealed by The Telegraph.

The embattled publisher of The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post and the i newspaper is applying for court approval to appoint administrators and execute a pre-packaged sale to a new holding company controlled by the New York hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management.

I’ve a couple of different times written for the company, widely separated in years. This latest was, umm, three pieces I think, earlier in the year. They’ve managed to keep up their perfect record of not paying me …….

Their underlying idea, buy up those failing newspapers and profit from running them down had merit. It’s rather what the Barclays have done at the Telegraph, sweat out the final years of an assets life. Little to no maintenance, no investment, just such the positive cash flow out.

Hey, it works, or at least can do. Perfectly respectable strategy. Thing is though, you’ve got to buy everything cheap enough for the sweat from those assets to pay for it. Not what they did….

28 comments on “Guess I’ll not chase those outstanding invoices then

  1. Somebody on Twitter accused Andrew Neil of running the Scotsman in to the ground. His reply was typically forthright:

    “You’re a liar. Sales of The Scotsman reached record highs during my period as Publisher and were still a healthy 75,000 when we sold in 2005. We pumped millions into the title and its sister titles plus built best new newsroom in the UK. Let’s see your workers’ buyout do better”

  2. Milking the cash cow on a gentle glide-path to obsolescence is a fairly well-known strategy for getting profit with little investment. A well-known example is what IBM did with their mainframe business, while they re-invented the company as a consultancy.

  3. When you go to a modern news site you get swamped by what is basically malware flashing up a hundred adverts at you, each one of which either moves the content around as they open up or distract you with flashing images, playing video and other crap. By the time you have switched all this off you realise the content is shit as well, either fake news or opinion you’ll most likely disagree with.

    It’s amazing they have lasted so long.

  4. The Sage,

    WH Smith. People complain in the press about the high street stores but there’s almost no profit in them. All their profit is in the railway/airport shops.

  5. Since the Telegraph (The Private Eye “Torygraph” jibe is no longer valid as BluLabour aren’t Tory in anything but name) is the only even vaguely pro-Brexit dead tree left I hope they can keep going a while longer.

    Transfers of readers from the now Kiss-Treason-May’s-arse Daily Mail should help them tho’.

  6. It’s rather what the Barclays have done at the Telegraph, sweat out the final years of an assets life

    Anybody know how the Torygraph’s paywall is working out? Apparently their print circulation is now well under half a million.

    Can’t imagine them becoming a bland Guardian clone is driving digital sales, but anybody know?

  7. BTW the Fat One has come out in favour of a turnover tax. Ridiculous as the idea is, I’d support it if it was also levied on the BBC, Guardian etc, I.e. “non-profits” and trusts, just for the lolz.

  8. Steve,

    “Can’t imagine them becoming a bland Guardian clone is driving digital sales, but anybody know?”

    Seriously, who pays for the sort of tripe they produce. There’s an interview with Taron Egerton and I like to imagine someone whipping out their credit card. “I ABSOLUTELY MUST KNOW ABOUT HIS DIET TIPS AND BOND RUMOURS AND I MUST KNOW NOW”.

    There’s going to be a paid PR person sat in the room for this interview and they’re capable of writing this stuff, for free, and sending it out. At which point, what value are journalists adding?

    They used to be the filters and the boosters but that’s now done through sharing. Doug Stanhope told the people at Have I Got News For You to fuck off when they tried to grift some tickets for a show. Those people were the gatekeepers for comedians. Get on HIGNFY, get a reputation, sell tickets to shows. Stanhope doesn’t need them now. People share clips on YouTube, they tell friends about his podcast or share his tweets. The sum total of all that sharing is far more efficient than a few Hugos in London (see also Gangnam Style and Jordan B Peterson).

  9. Rob, the Guardian hasn’t been a trust for a decade. “The Scott Trust Ltd”. Of course the “Ltd” often gets omitted when the Guardian is patting itself on the back. But then you expect lies in the Guardian, don’t you?

  10. Due to the Mail’s new editor (who looks an older version of Owen Jones after a couple of decades of gobbling cock) and his bend-over to the EU policy, it’s no longer worth going there and having to endure the deluge of adverts to get to the pics of the wardrobe malfunctions and Liz Hurley in a bikini.

  11. ‘When you go to a modern news site you get swamped by what is basically malware’

    True. I go to news sites expecting to read. If I wanted videos, I’d go to youtube.

    Some sports news websites are especially bad. espn.com and nfl.com come immediately to mind. They make it very hard for you to find what you are looking for. When you search for something, their software decides that you really want to see a bunch of videos.

    Two things are killing the legacy press:

    1. Internet advertising has sucked out the mass source of revenue to periodicals. The money in periodicals was advertising, not circulation.

    2. Content. The masses don’t want Lefty junk. The editors and publishers have poisoned the well, alienating two thirds of potential customers.

  12. ‘three pieces I think, earlier in the year. They’ve managed to keep up their perfect record of not paying me …….’

    Explain pieces two and three.

  13. “When you go to a modern news site you get swamped by what is basically malware flashing up a hundred adverts at you, each one of which either moves the content around as they open up or distract you with flashing images, playing video and other crap. By the time you have switched all this off you realise the content is shit as well, either fake news or opinion you’ll most likely disagree with.”

    Switch to Brave. It doesn’t improve the content but it does remove a large amount of crap.

    “2. Content. The masses don’t want Lefty junk. The editors and publishers have poisoned the well, alienating two thirds of potential customers.”

    Good point. There’s very little ideological diversity amongst them, they’re all middle class SJWs who’ve done the same course at university and drunk the same koolaid.

  14. There must be a few journalists and publishers who could get together to create a viable business that appeals to this “two thirds” potential customer base, who must be starved of news and entertainment.

    Taking the evidence at face value, it would seem that in order to just ride the decline a media company must turn left (watch Fox News) to grab the remaining consumers. Right leaning publishers and independents seem almost on the edge of the dark web.

    If two thirds of people in general don’t want lefty junk, we’d have to conclude that they also don’t want any conventional media output at all.

  15. “Am I the only one wondering why Tim sent them more work after they never paid for the first?”

    No, see Gamecock’s comment above.

  16. My American friend’s comment on that speccie article:

    I mean, if you’re going to fuck me, at least take me out to dinner first

  17. Last time was a decade ago, arising from a misunderstanding – would I write for the publicity? I thought no, they thought yes. This year the three pieces were all inside the usual invoicing period.

  18. PJF,

    “There must be a few journalists and publishers who could get together to create a viable business that appeals to this “two thirds” potential customer base, who must be starved of news and entertainment.”

    The Spectator. It’s growing. Has more subscribers than ever. Probably because Fraser Nelson isn’t some well-connected but useless Oxbridge wanker like most newspapers.

  19. “Anybody know how the Torygraph’s paywall is working out?”

    Steve:
    My till receipt at Waitrose yesterday came with a voucher for seven days of free access to the Telegraph website. The website is even worse than the paper.

  20. Just wiki’d Fraser Nelson. As an exercise in third-party record-keeping which, it turns out, confirms my vague, unconsidered prejudices about the man, it’s an interesting experiment.

    BoM4, he may not be PPE knob, but he’s a knob of the usual type.

  21. Abusing your contributors is a bit of a plague at the moment – the shitweasels that sanction it need dragging out into their office car park stripping, tarring and feathering – there really do need to be direct and uncomfortable personal consequences for shitting on contractors.

    I’m OK with dribs and drabs but to run up debt on a product / service that they are re-selling – fuck ’em.

    Bloke on M4 WH Smiffs? I have to be really having an off day before I’ll set foot on their premises. At airports they are as much a hazard as predatory taxi drivers.

  22. Tim, bit of advice for you. Don’t lend money to big companies.
    As you have found out getting paid can be problematic.

    Avoid lending to them and you avoid the problems.

  23. Tim: Ah, the old “do it for the exposure!” scam. I get the “you’re *free*lance, that means we don’t need to pay you”.

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