01 September 2009

Rearranging Enterprise

* The Colorado Springs Gazette and Orange County Register have a common owner. The Denver Post says that it is about to file for bankruptcy. Do the papers have a real shot of emerging from bankruptcy? It isn't clear.

* Disney is buying Marvel Comics for $4 billion. Marvel is the most profitable publisher in the country of anything, in its comic book division alone, and it also makes money from character licensing and movie rights. It is in a recession proof industry, created in the Great Depression. Unlike most consumer goods (which have gotten cheaper), comic prices and movie ticket prices have stayed fairly constant relative to inflation. A look at recent titles also shows that Marvel is seriously trying to outsource illustration talent on established titles (e.g. to Indonesia for the Dresden Files, which is set in Chicago), reducing costs without lower quality that I can see, and it doesn't pay its domestic comic book writers nearly what they make in Japan.

The synergies are obvious. As my children who are right in the middle of the Disney target audience (and can't get enough of the programs aired by the Disney Channel or Radio Disney) are well aware, Disney owns everything.

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