Dominant Social Theme: Newspapers and magazines are having trouble because of the Internet. But it is just a passing phase.
Free-Market Analysis: Citibank entertainment media analyst Jason B. Bazinet is in the news today. He wrote to investors that he simply cannot account for the slump in cable TV viewers.
As a result, he downgraded CBS, Disney, Discovery, News Corp and Scripps from "Buy" to "Neutral." This is no small thing. Ads follow viewers. Fewer viewers, fewer ads – and less ad dollars.
He notes that in aggregate, cable TV is up some eight percent since 2008, when the ongoing "depression" began to gather steam. But revenues are not ratings. Audiences continue to slump, and over time this bodes ill for the industry.
What could be causing the malaise? He cited a combination of "Netflix, warmer weather, job gains, lack of hit shows, and faulty Nielsen measurement." But here's the bottom line: "While we've tried to quantify these sources ... we can't explain the entire ratings shortfall."