Why do billionaires want media?

Why do billionaires want media?

What rich else does one want? A bigger yacht, a faster sports car or a champion of champion?

The number of billionaires who have chosen to buy prestigious journals and newspapers that have gone through tough times is increasing recently.

Marc and Lynne Benioff announced they would not be involved in editorial decisions of Time magazine
Marc and Lynne Benioff announced they would not be involved in editorial decisions of Time magazine

The billionaires, who have won their fortune after the end of the most respected days of journalism, are drawn to the noise of the news centers.

The last example of this was Marc Benioff and his wife, who received Time magazine since 1923, reflecting US view of world events.

Strong and rich people, including US President Donald Trump, still care to be on the red-framed cover of the magazine.

The $190 million it gave to Time for Benioff, the founder of Salesforce.com, which sells software to companies, is only a small part of its $6.7 billion fortune.

Los Angeles Times was bought this year by biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong
Los Angeles Times was bought this year by biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong

Benioff went the way of Jeff Bezos, who bought the Washington Post with a billions of dollars five years ago.

John Henry, the former fund manager of the year Bezos received the Post and the owner of the Boston Red Sox, also bought the Boston Globe. Shortly thereafter, Sheldon Adelson, the king of hotels and casinos, became the owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest daily newspaper.

Last year, Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of Apple founder Steve Jobs, acquired the majority shareholding in The Atlantic magazine. This year, South African biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, including the Los Angeles Times in the United States, has incorporated some of the newspapers on the west side of the United States.

Press agencies that are forced to compete with internet publications for their sales and advertising revenue are ready to throw themselves into the arms of the news-rich riches.

Douglas McCabe, the media analyst at Enders Analysis, says the reason for this is that they prefer to offer free internet broadcasts in the early days and that advertisers want to give less money to the digital media than the print media.

These factors reduce the attractiveness of the media sector in the eyes of investors.

Time magazine has been sold due to decrease in sales and advertising revenue
Time magazine has been sold due to decrease in sales and advertising revenue

So what is the motivation of attracting the rich to this sector if the target is not making money?

“The rich were always interested in news broadcasting because effective media organizations give their owners access to and influence of the masses,” McCabe says.

According to Dan Kennedy, a journalist at Northeastern University in Boston, who is working on journalism and “The Return of the Rich: Jeff Bezos and John Henry How the newspapers make over the 21st century”, this is true for some, but the next generation of billionaires has other motivations:

“I think this is due both to his egos and to his belief that they can do good.

“They are generally prone to believe that these media outlets suffer from a lack of financial intelligence, believing that they will work well again when they have an owner.”

Jeff Bezos provided more resources to the Washington Post
Jeff Bezos provided more resources to the Washington Post

Kennedy says this belief is confirmed for Jeff Bezos and Post. They increased the number of subscribers using Amazon’s massive access and rivaled the New York Times.

According to Kennedy, the success of Bezos in the Washington Post may have inspired others.

Although there were concerns that Bezos would advertise the Amazon or use the newspaper for its own companies and use the Post in its political or economic interests, they did not.

Some billionaires, such as Jonh Henry, who took the Boston Globe, opted to get involved in the editorial line of the newspaper, but they remained at a distance from the news center. Instead, they focused on developing new business strategies.

This does not mean that large investors do not have a sense of public office.

Soon-Shiong said it was effective in the decision to get the LA Times this summer because it grew in the period of apartheid, where press freedom is restricted in South Africa.

He promised to deal with fake news, which he called “cancer of our age.” In a letter he wrote for his readers, he wrote that the newspaper he received would be “the fortress of editorial integrity and independence”, “protecting democracy and protecting it from disinformation.”

LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong wants to fight fake news
LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong wants to fight fake news

Bezos talked about his role in defending democracy when he received the Post. Powell Jobs also said that the investment would make the Atlantic “carry out the important mission it undertook in critical times.”

Is it good that these press organizations have rich owners who aim to protect public debate?

“We need to think about what the alternative is,” says Kennedy.

“Over the last hundred years, we’ve seen a number of media outlets pull their workers out for more profit.

“It is a good thing for individuals who think publicly to try journalism.”

But that doesn’t mean they’re always going to be successful.

One of the founders of Facebook Chris Hughes, who bought the 100-year newspaper The New Republic in 2012, made $20 million in investment.

Kennedy says he recently met with the owner of the Boston Globe, John Henry, that they had tried a few tactics in the newspaper and that they expected to see which would be successful. The fact that the paper was much harder than correcting her condition intimidated her.

The new owner, Kennedy Time Benioff, says he must be willing to risk damaging for years trying to decide on his new role in the magazine’s ever-changing media scene.