Success has become quite relative in the newspaper industry. Everyone's losing money, yes, but now it's all about degrees. So, when your company's not hemorrhaging like your competitors, there's a reason to gloat. Just like Gavin O'Reilly...
According to O'Reilly, chief executive of Independent News & Media, his company's namesake newspapers, The Independent and Independent on Sunday, are on track to "break even" come 2010.
Despite losing nearly 34% of their advertising revenue in the past year and seeing a revenue decline of about 608 million euros, the company's still doing better than it was last year, when it lost 780.4 million euros in revenue. This, of course, gives O'Reilly a little wiggle room to wag a victorious finger at one of his rivals, The Guardian.
I'd say, and I am going to be really bitchy here, [our losses] could be about one 10th your (The Guardian's) loss this year and, as for getting to break-even, our projection is based on no advertising recovery through 2009 and into 2010.
Now, before you start calling O'Reilly any unnecessary names — or any names that he wouldn't call himself — be aware that he does disavow the "bitchy" description when dismissing rumors that he and his cohorts are looking to sell some of their holdings. The company is, quite simply, better than The Guardian.
The Independent remains an important part of the group and is certainly proving more resilient than most of its competitors – I am not saying it in a bitchy way, but even more so than Guardian Media.
That doesn't mean the Independent crew aren't above selling out: they announced the sale of their interests in South African advertising agency, INM Outdoor. But, you know, that's in South Africa, which is part of Africa. So its negligible: 98 million euros. Sadly, that number means very, very little in the pock-scarred newspaper world.