"Substantial Doubt" over Salon's Survival (NYT Reg. Req'd)
June 28, 2002 9:38 AM   Subscribe

"Substantial Doubt" over Salon's Survival (NYT Reg. Req'd) And this from its auditors. Hey, these days, if even your auditors can't cover over your poor financial situation, you know you're screwed. Seriously, though, this and a number of other articles point to the end of the Web's erstwhile leading "independent" publication, still ticking but on the decline for the past year. It should be gone by summer's end, they say. Via The Morning News.
posted by risenc (14 comments total)
You know... sad thing is, I would have subscribed (joyfully!) if I didn't have to underwrite their sex column(ist)s.
posted by silusGROK at 9:59 AM on June 28, 2002

Two words: MORE POP-UPS!!!!!!!
posted by byort at 10:07 AM on June 28, 2002

Ah, yes, summer is truly here. The annual grim pronouncements about Salon's death knell have started. What fun. Well, see you next year when I post another snarky remark about the stories about Salon circling the drain that come out then! No doubt they'll all be P.R. twaddle designed to elicit more cash from people who actually like Salon too!
posted by BGM at 10:17 AM on June 28, 2002

I know this is a perennial topic, but this time they're really in the hole - $1.5 million, no potential investors, and a next-to-crap credit rating. Plus a track record of losses that will keep most everyone away. Plus no new revenue streams. These were the things that kept it afloat in the past, and now they're gone. And so is Salon.
posted by risenc at 10:35 AM on June 28, 2002

Over at Fucked Company, Pud puts the deadline at August 13.

Anybody want to start a pool?
posted by briank at 10:39 AM on June 28, 2002

Perhaps they should hire David Horowitz or maybe Camille Paglia.

. . . oh.
posted by Skot at 10:43 AM on June 28, 2002

This is what I predict will happen:

Pre-packaged bankruptcy -- SALN goes Chapter 11 under a plan providing for a media company to pay $700,000 or so (a 10% premium to market cap, if you can believe it) which gets split up among creditors.

Salon.com has about $2 million a year in revenue, and as a division of a media company (ex ed, mg ed, copy ed, 2 ed assistants, and freelancers) can probably run on less than that in annual expenses.
posted by MattD at 11:05 AM on June 28, 2002

In their beginning, their design was so clean it took your breath away.
posted by Faze at 11:08 AM on June 28, 2002

And in the beginning, it was updated, what, once a week? It was great, and seemed novel to have big names writing columns or being inverviewed on the line. I think I probably read about as many Salon pieces now as in ’97, just out of a bigger pool.

Popups can be dealt with, but Flash interstertials too...ugh.
posted by sherman at 11:15 AM on June 28, 2002

Salon has some decent writers -- King Kaufmann, Charles "the other one" Taylor -- but what I want to know is this: When it does finally go tits up, what will happen to The Well?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:28 AM on June 28, 2002

I think Barra is a great sportswriter. I'll miss Salon. I blame Cary Tennis.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:03 PM on June 28, 2002

The Salon brand is too valuable to go away. I bet someone will buy them. They'll never be the same, but the brand Salon will continue in some way.
posted by pb at 1:37 PM on June 28, 2002

Truly a shame that no "gated community" of independents will ever spring up. I truly believe a consortium of, say, Salon, Suck Feed and a few others together could have raised enough money to keep going, if they hadn't decided/been forced to go it alone. Now, the big leaguers will starve them all out of existence, continuing to exhort "sure we'll stay free." As soon as the last one is gone, hello all-paid internet!
posted by Sinner at 4:22 PM on June 28, 2002

Salon CEO Michael O'Donnell sent a response to these reports, which was published on Romenesko's Media News site: After filing our annual 10K report on Wednesday, which includes language from our auditors about our prospects as a "going concern," our friends in the press have taken their knives out again, predicting Salon's demise. Similar language appeared in our previous annual report a year ago; but we're still here. A Reuters reporter (who has made so many mistakes covering Salon over the years we've lost count) actually made up a quote from us, saying "the company said the end could be near." She never talked to us and of course "the company" said nothing of the kind.

He doesn't actually say anything about Salon's actually having enough money to survive for much longer, though.
posted by mattpfeff at 3:40 PM on June 30, 2002

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