The world's biggest press baron is clearly sounding concerned about the U.S. economy. Rupert Murdoch is indicating the advertising picture for the Fox Network (now America's most-watched) is feeling the pinch. He suspects the downturn is going to be there for a year or so. Not surprisingly, he pulled News Corp. out of the running for Yahoo! He was quite clear: Microsoft has more cash.
But what he had to say Monday about newspapers and their classified advertising at the Bear Sterns conference was quite revealing. He believes in the future of newspapers (he should, after all), but thinks local classified advertising will pretty much move over to free vehicles. In his view the result will be fewer journalists (international bureaus, for instance, will disappear) in part because newspaper margins will decline.
More than anything, those were remarks of impact.