An ongoing dispatch documenting the complete collapse of a media sector:
The Associated Press' Vinnee Tong, 3/5/07:
Ziff Davis Media Inc., publisher of technology and video game magazines, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday and cited a decrease in revenue from print advertising and subscriptions as contributing to its decline.
The bursting of the Internet bubble hurt publishers like Ziff Davis, which said its print advertising revenue dropped to $40 million last year from $215 million in 2001. Its total revenue fell to $76 million last year from about $300 million in 2001.
The crazy thing, of course, is that the 2001 revenue had already sharply declined from fatter times . . .
The Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Rose, December 7, 1999: Ziff Davis Inc. agreed to sell its magazine unit, the publisher of PC Week and Yahoo! Internet Life, among many other titles, to a private equity firms for $780 million … Revenue for the magazine group totaled $782 million in 1998.
. . . and said declines have been going on for a long time. This, from Ziff Davis’ annual report, March 31, 2006:
Revenue was $187.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2005, compared to $204.5 million in the comparable prior year period.
UPDATE: Paid Content's Rafat Ali has been all over this, and in this sharp post he points out some pitfalls of debt-heavy private equity plays (scroll down to the boldfaced section).