News Corp's Peter Chernin On Newspapers Circa Right Now

Earlier this week, the Milken Institute sponsored a media conference (there is one every week—scratch that, there is more than one every week. And there is more than one in California every week, or at least there was this week.) called “Predicting The Future In A Fractured Media World” which attracted a bunch of muckety-mucks to the Beverly Hilton.

At one panel, the moderator (Forbes’ Dennis Kneale) asked the panelists if there is some way old media properties can use new media to increase revenues of existing assets.

News Corp President Peter Chernin said, at least in one specific instance, no:

“The classified business at newspapers is in free fall and the internet will never help us compensate for what it was.”

Seeing that classifieds are the single largest advertising source for newspapers, this, uhm, is not good news.

Upcoming next week for News Corp: A three-day (subscription required) pow-wow with Rupert Murdoch to try to figure out how, exactly, newspapers can thrive these days.

(Hat tip to my BusinessWeek colleague Ron Grover, who was at said conference and kindly shared the above-mentioned exchange.)

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