Netflix has moved onto the Standard & Poors 500 Index of publicly traded companies.
In case you have not heard of Netflix, it is an internet-based video rental company. A really smart guy named Reed Hastings founded the company in 1997. Today it has 16 million subscribers and a market capitalization of $9.39 billion.
In other words, Netflix is quite a success story.
Because the S&P 500 has, well, 500 components, one had to drop off the list to make room for Netflix. That one is the New York Times Co.
As you might suspect, the New York Times Co. produces newspapers. Although best known for its flagship New York Times, it has 17 other papers. And like virtually all newspapers, they are losing circulation and profits. The market capitalization of the entire group is $1.36 billion.
On the surface, it would seem that the message here is obvious: newspapers are going out of fashion and movie rentals are the wave of the future, right?
Not exactly. I think there is more here than meets the eye.
After all, lots of local video rental stores – and some large chains – have fallen by the wayside. Netflix (I’m not a subscriber) is simply really good at what it does.
And while e-readers, e-phones and all manner of digital gadgets are making it easier for people to read more than ever before, the folks at the New York Times are having an awful time of it. I think it just might be the result of arrogance leading to irrelevance.
The “nation’s newspaper of record” combines a liberal worldview with stuffy, self-satisfied presentation. Not a good combination. News judgment clearly plays second fiddle to political correctness. And solid, old-fashioned, stubby-pencil, green-eyeshade reporting and editing has been replaced by social elitism.
Yes, the New York Times, once at the pinnacle of the nation’s media, has fallen off the A list. And it isn’t just because newspapers are losing popularity. It is because it has stopped doing a good job.
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