To continue my long-running series of essays about media DE-consolidation…
One of the America’s oldest media operations, the E.W. Scripps Company, announced a major plan to split up its operations yesterday. With a loan from his brothers in 1878, E.W. Scripps went on to establish a successful penny press newspaper business that later blossomed into a nationwide media empire with newspapers, syndicated features, cable networks and Internet / interactive properties.
But now the Scripps media empire will be dividing into two different companies. One, which will still be called “E.W. Scripps,” will cover “old media” print properties and stick to covering local markets. The other company, which will be called “Scripps Network Interactive,” will focus on “new media” efforts of an interactive nature and with national scope. This is somewhat along the lines of the Viacom-CBS split a few years ago, which I wrote about here.
It’s all just more proof that the modern media marketplace is far more dynamic than the pro-regulation media critics ever want to admit. These stories about media breakups get relegated to the backpages of newspapers and buried on websites, if they get reported at all. By contrast, whenever there is a merger, it’s always front-page news full of Chicken Little quotes about the coming media apocalypse. It’s all quite silly.