Dirk Smillie of Forbes.com reports that conservative billionaire Phil Anschutz helps distribute copies of his newspaper, the Examiner, to collect feedback from readers. Smillie admits that Anschutz’s business strategy for his two newspapers (in SF and Washington, D.C.) is puzzling since both lose money. And now he has bought The Weekly Standard, the conservative paper featuring Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer. It loses $5 million a year. Writes Smillie:
- The 80,000-circulation weekly may not advance his readership footprint much, but it will give him political influence. They’ll join conservative voices Anschutz already has working for him at the Washington paper, like Michael Barone and Byron York.
Could Anschutz be planning to move The Weekly Standard to a free model, as he did the San Francisco Examiner? “That would dilute their demographics,” says [newspaper industry analyst John] Morton. “Besides, conservatives are already affluent.”