nettime's salon economist on Sun, 30 Jun 2002 00:11:44 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Salon gone? [2x]

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   Re: <nettime> Salon gone?                                                                                                                 

   Re: <nettime> Salon gone?                                                       
     Fred Heutte <>                                            


Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 13:23:18 EDT
Subject: Re: <nettime> Salon gone?

In a message dated 6/28/2002 1:12:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> Salon has been trying to boost its revenue by offering a subscription
> service that excludes advertising and gives readers access to more
> stories. Through March 31, Salon had signed up 35,100 subscribers who paid
> $1.1 million in fees during the company's last fiscal year

I find it hard to see how a company with that many subscribers should go out 
of business in the Internet age. With that kind of money, a closet full of 
html gremlins ought to be able to more than thrive. 

John Landon
Website on the eonic effect


Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 19:22:42 -0700
From: Fred Heutte <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Salon gone?

This is another example of media thundering-herd mentality.  In fact,
there was no "news" at all in the announcement that Salon's auditors
cannot qualify it as an ongoing concern.  This simply repeats the analysis
stated in previous regulatory filings, including a year ago in virtually
the exact same words.

The fact is -- and as a (small) Salon shareholder I speak from experience
-- Salon's ongoing survival is now a matter of financing by a small group
of wealthy supporters.  In the non-profit magazine world these are known
as "angel investors," which has a different connotation that it does in
conventional venture capital terms because the "angels" rarely expect to
get all their money back.  Certainly I can attest to that as a

Of course, Salon is still a for-profit entity so the analogy isn't
entirely accurate.  Salon's prospects for being a profitable entity have
never been all that great.  They have moved away from an entirely
ad-dependent business model, but 40,000 Salon Premium and a few thousand
Well and Table Talk subscribers can't support a full-scale news and
features online site.

My hope has been that some progressive European media outfit would pick
them up, because the synergies are quite obvious: Salon has a well-earned
reputation for serious journalism and innovative cultural content;
European audiences could benefit from that as well as American audiences
benefitting immensely from more direct access to Euro perspectives.  
Europe isn't the only place to look, of course, but it's the most obvious.  
Anyway, this may all be only my personal fantasy.

In any event, Salon seems to have enough cash and future income to keep
going for at least a few more months -- which is all they've ever had,
really.  As long as the core of "angel investors" wishes to keep them
afloat, they will be online.  And if the economy really picks up or in
some way the net audience starts to favor subscriptions for premium
services that would otherwise disappear, they may get to a point of
self-sustaining viability.



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