During a Q&A session at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, company chief Warren Buffett said he only saw longterm success for three American newspapers.
“No one except the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and now probably the Washington Post has come up with a digital product that really in any significant way will replace the revenue that is being lost as print newspapers lose both circulation and advertising,” said Buffett as he fielded questions alongside longtime colleague Charlie Munger. “‘It is very difficult to see — with a lack of success in terms of important dollars rising from digital — it’s difficult to see how the print product survives over time.”
The legendary investor was quick to minimalize the financial impacts to his company, but said the bigger loss was for the United States.
“The economic significance to Berkshire is almost negligible, but the significance to the society I think actually is enormous,” said Buffett.
Buffett’s prediction was precipitated by a question from former Fortune magazine journalist Carol Loomis, who noted that circulation for the 28 newspapers Buffett purchased in 2011 had all fallen sharply.
Buffett’s latest pronouncement on the newspapers was actually an improvement from his previous position. Earlier this year, the billionaire told CNBC that only two newspapers had an “assured future” at that time, leaving the Washington Post off of his list. In the months since that appearance, Buffett’s opinion of the Jeff Bezos-owned paper has risen.