As you may have noticed, Cover Wars have been on hiatus for the last coupla weeks. We have been waiting for the other shoe to drop in the PW Sale story because, hey, we feel that people fearing for their jobs don’t need our shit-talking, unless their name is Imus. But that’s just us.
While we are waiting to see where PW owner Anthony Clifton’s gold-plated loafer will drop, we’d like to take a minute here to ponder what all this means: First and foremost, the golden age of the alternative weekly is OVER, and the industry is moving from a growth posture to one of consolidation. The steady ad revenue growth that alt-weeklies enjoyed throughout the 90s has plateaued, and in some case flat-lined.
Like daily newspapers, they will remain stable and respectably profitable investments for the foreseeable future, but they will NEVER be worth more than they are right now, at least not as strictly print properties. Why do you think Anthony Clifton chose now to sell PW? Speaking of which, we find Clifton’s continued silence on the matter to be negligent, if not altogether heartless. We know what a confidentiality agreement is, but when you have $25 million riding on the sweat equity of your current staff — not to mention a decade’s worth of freelancers who worked for what was essentially migrant labor wages — whose combined efforts transformed a shitty ad circular into a respectable alternative media outlet and, by extension, tripled the value of your initial Comcastic investment — well, the gentlemanly thing to do would be to tell your co-signers of said confidentiality agreement that ‘Given the fact that the news of the pending sale has leaked, I owe my employees an explanation.’ Unless, of course, you are running a plantation.