Bearish on Media? Think Green

Google (GOOG – $312.08) stock has lost over 40 percent since July. In the last earnings call, the search engine company’s management expressed optimism on coming advertising revenue, but that message did not support the stock price. Not even its partnership with NBC Universal helped to convince investors.

Gawker chief Nick Denton wrote an essay on his grim outlook of advertising revenues, citing a J.P. Morgan analyst. One of his strategies to stay afloat is to consolidate titles; rumor has it that he is folding Valleywag, one of the websites under his Gawker brand.

Denton predicted a setback at major print media companies even though most have diversified into new media. That’s probably because they still rely heavily on print advertising sales simply due to the large scale of their business, which means a higher operating cost.

The New York Daily News recently laid off a bunch of staff, including star reporters, and Bloomberg has frozen hiring. Information services connected to major financial research firms, such as units of Standard & Poor’s, can still afford to add staff. Surprisingly, so do a few other trade media shops serving the failing financial industry.

As early as February 2007, David Neubert told us to sell The New York Times stock (NYT – $7.96), which has almost halved since July this year.

So, what to do? Consider waiting tables or going to nursing school.

On a lighter note, lean new media shops that keep sprouting across the field are still hiring, especially those geared towards green technology, or green anything. It seems the right place for journalists to look into, rather than Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times.

Subprime: dull. Green: go.

Disclosure: I own no media stocks. I am socially conscious.