These American billionaires want to reinvent the press

Jeff Bezos, Laurene Powell Jobs, Warren Buffett, Patrick Soon-Shiong … and now Marc Benioff. The American press has a new patron: founder Marc Benioff of Salesforce and his wife have decided to take over the prestigious magazine "Time".

In recent years, the title, which is suffering from a decline in broadcasting and advertising revenues, was sold to the Meredith Group for $ 190 million this weekend. "We invest in a company that has a major impact on the world and whose business is extremely strong,
welcomed Marc Benioff. This is what we were looking for to invest as a family. "

But the couple does not see the investment as a philanthropic job and plans to look at the economic model of the title. The message was also sent internally as soon as the payment was announced. "What does the time look like in 2040? What will the newspaper mean to people at the moment? The Benioffs wrote in a note in which newspaper officials were asked to look to the future.

Re-invent business models

The interest of the great American fortunes in the press is not new. But these are increasingly coming from Silicon Valley, they want to do more than preserve a foundation of American democracy and are planning to reinvent the economic model of a sector that suffers from changing habits of the consumer.

This is the calculation made by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, when he took out a 250 million dollar check in 2013 to take over the "Washington Post", with the ambition to be the press laboratory of the 21st century.

Shortly after taking over the title, the last $ 50 million invested to stimulate the teams of researchers and is personally involved in managing them. "It is a difficult puzzle to solvehe admitted during the redemption. But there are so many ways to exercise freedom (of the press), so many variables and options to explore, so much to test that I am optimistic and I think we will find a way to reach our readers and leave them financially want to commit. "

Adventure risky

Although less involved, the widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs last year acquired a majority stake in the magazine & # 39; The Atlantic & # 39 ;, one of the most prestigious in the country, founded 160 years ago, and is currently funding the development. The coverage of the White House and the Pentagon is particularly strengthened, as are offices abroad.

As a biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who himself called the & # 39; Los Angeles Times & # 39; offered, he plans to create an exemplary multimedia platform that can compete with the New York Times & # 39; and the & # 39; Washington Post & # 39 ;. "

Of course, the bet is not without risk & # 39; s. And some prefer to bet on the local or specialized press, which is considered more solid. Like Warren Buffett, the oracle of the American business world, who over the years has quietly bought about thirty local newspapers and fifty magazines over the years.

Or the Koch brothers, figures of conservative law, who financed the Meredith group when he received the Time Inc group, but only to keep the titles of the decoration and the local television channels.

Elsa Conesa

New York Office

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