Posted on | July 10, 2012 | 19 Comments
In a sign that Salon is very close to being shuttered, the company “lost” its CEO and CFO recently. . . . At the end of the final quarter of 2011, Salon had $149,000 in the bank against short-term liabilities that included $12.7 million in loans. During the same quarter, Salon lost $997,000 on revenue of $1.03 million.
This is just further confirmation of what I wrote in April:
Salon is basically the cockroach of Web ‘zines. Begun in the age of dial-up modems, it has survived the dot-com bubble, the rise of blogs and social networking, etc. While it has survived, however, no one can say that Salon has thrived. It spent a dozen years as a Slate wannabe before trying to re-invent itself as a weak imitation of HuffPo or something.
No one knows how much money Salon has lost since 1995, although it was estimated last year that its annual operating loss was $1.5 million. So, cumulative losses by now are probably somewhere between $20 million and a metric buttload.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that “investors” in such an enterprise don’t care how much money they lose, but are simply taking a tax write-off to support left-wing journalism. At some point, then, the calculation is more about political utility than about revenue potential.
OK, so in a oprogressive online media environment now crowded with HuffPo, Daily Kos, TPM, Think Progress, etc., where is the political utility of a maintaining a persistent loser like Salon? Where is the suggestion that Salon is having any meaningful impact? Or is it possible that Salon’s funders consider it their patriotic duty to provide an outlet for Glenn Greenwald’s unique brand of anti-patriotism?
A fool and his money are soon parted, and fools have wasted more money on less viable media entities. But why bring Current TV into this?
UPDATE II (RSM): Thanks to the commenter who points out that last month Salon indicated it was trying to sell The Well (Well.com):
“As other online communities and social networks emerged over the years, The Well’s subscriber base dwindled to 2,693, which did not bear financial promise.”
They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.