I hate to keep pounding on this, but the essential problem for media companies is that we just aren’t special anymore. The Web views every site the same, and despite efforts by media companies to express their uniqueness, it just doesn’t work.
And the problem here is that advertisers don’t need media companies anymore. Take a look at Wal-Mart’s home page:
Note the ads from Vonage and Chevrolet, but here’s where it gets really interesting. Below is data from Compete.com that shows that the Wal-Mart site crushes the New York Times and the Washington Post in terms of unique visitors.
The point is that Wal-Mart is a media site in that it sells its reach to advertisers, a reach that vastly exceeds two of the top newspaper sites in the world. This is why I keep harping on everybody that the future for local media companies lies beyond their own walled garden websites, and those who refuse to hear that (like, everybody) are sprinting to the tar pits.