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Before we blame Murdoch, I think it's worth remembering that NatGeo was in a bad position when it was sold off to Murdoch...that's why it was sold off in the first place:

> The magazine’s domestic circulation peaked at about 12 million copies in the late 1980s; today, the publication reaches about 3.5 million subscribers in the United States and an additional 3 million subscribers abroad through non-English-language editions. Advertising has been in steady decline.

Just because the layoffs are happening as NatGeo becomes part of Murdoch's empire doesn't mean that this was a greedy, self-serving move, and not one that was a long-time due and for which Murdoch gets the recognition/blame for, likely in exchange for a purchase price he was willing to accept. Would these layoffs not happened if NatGeo hadn't managed to be sold off as it was in decline?

seems unsustainable to hope for better numbers. 3 million subscribers is a lot. The New Yorker is profitable at 1 million. Sure the National Geographic Society does more and its stories might cost more to get written, but it needs to go digital and expand the way other publications are if it wants better numbers.

I love the New Yorker, but its forte is not sending photographers to the bottom of the sea or the heart of the Amazon.

> Before we blame Murdoch, I think it's worth remembering that NatGeo was in a bad position when it was sold off to Murdoch...that's why it was sold off in the first place

Fair point.

But I wonder why it was bought.

It's a largely unknowable question, since it's just in the eye of the beholder. It could be purely a "let's wring whatever value we can get out of the brand until it's a dried-up husk and throw it aside".

Or it could be a, "Look, this isn't a very well-run business, there's a lot of redundancy, and a lot of investment in prestige initiatives that don't bring in a lot of revenue, so let's trim things down and focus on higher-margin operations, and then see how we can leverage the brand across the rest of the organization".

I mean, both of my scenarios are effectively very similar, one just assumes malice, the other good corporate stewardship. It's hard to know.

Hopefully it is because they identified all things t2015_08_25 did in the top post, and they see it a currently under preforming and make a killing by implementing those changes.

The wildlift, historical and other such scenes are reuseable and repackageable to an extreme. That is, they are still relevant 30 years from when they are filmed. That makes those assets quite valuable over the long run as you can continuously extract fees from licensing. Compare that to tv shows and even reality tv which quickly become dated and have a short shelf life.

Sadly, with the rate of wilderness, wildlife, and species loss, quite likely far more valueable in 30 years' time.

Comparative analysis of human + domesticated animal terrestrial vertebrate biomass vs. that of wildlife is truly staggering.


The guy in that linked post just pulled his 10,000 BC biomass estimate out of thin air. I wouldn't go around making any major life decisions based on it.

Frankly I have trouble believing the evil mastermind conspiracy theories that are so prevalent every time Murdoch, Soros or whoever buys something. People forget that it's not a personal plaything like a sports team, but a business investment. Sure, it's possible Rupert Murdoch personally structured a deal to buy this company, then gave strict orders to fire anyone who didn't watch Fox News.

I find it far easier to believe that News Corp, as a publicly traded company, wants to increase its own equity value by allocating capital well. And that the executives who work there have shown skill at identifying big-brand media companies who have been mismanaged and are in terminal decline, and purchasing them for a price which makes it easy to streamline the operation, cut dead wood and make a profit on the transaction.

The alternative is that the name and brand dissappears below the waterline forever and becomes something that people used to talk about.

If Fox backs neutrally positive enterprises, at the core of US identity, then it gains legitimity in the eyes of the Left community. So basically, it should make the right gain votes, at least in the long term, and if he doesn't kill the thing. Well, this is just a thought.

Possibly because Murdoch noticed that Nat Geo's subscriber demographics skew towards older people with more money to spend? Maybe he thinks he can monetize the subscriber asset base better.

either for nostalgic purposes or simply because they determined the name still has value and with some corrections could again be valuable?

The TV channel.

and the accumulated library of pictures, video, etc.

would the fact-checking department have been the first casualties if the buyer wasn't Murdoch?

Seeing that the fact-checking department was called out specifically gave me a good hearty laugh.

appears to affect almost every department of the nonprofit organization, including the magazine, which the society has published since just after its founding in 1888. The reduction also will affect people who work for the National Geographic Channel, the most profitable part of the organization. Several people in the channel’s fact-checking department, for example, were terminated on Tuesday, employees said.

The department that obviously didn't help you craft your question...


I'm pretty sure you are getting downvotes because your original comment was needless political snark. Now you are making baseless accusations of "vote manipulation". Please don't do this here.

So political snark is synonymous with making an observation now is it. I mention vote manipulation because it was very apparent that is what igotspam had done. I care not for meaningless points but when people use multiple accounts to further their own point it is disingenuous and serves the community to highlight this sort of behaviour so others do not waste time interacting with him.

> So political snark is synonymous with making an observation now is it. [sic]

a) you didn't make an observation, you asked a question

b) it was a snarky question

c) they're laying off folks from, according to the article, 'almost every department of the nonprofit organization'

> I mention vote manipulation because it was very apparent that is what igotspam had done.

Or, y'know, thousands of people read HN and some large number of them think that you're off-base.

Accusing people of vote manipulation probably violates the guidelines. If you actually think someone is manipulating the votes (eg with dual accounts) you should email the mods and let them know. They seem receptive to that kind of thing.

In this case it seems unlikely that you've been downvoted by one person with two accounts. Downvotes are sometimes accidental; and incorrect or unfair downvotes are often corrected. But accusing people of bad faith downvotes is a sure way to attract more downvotes.

HN is not reddit. People downvote when you write useless comments. Get over it.

NatGeo tried to spin the sale to Murdoch by saying that Murdoch's cash would bring stability to the troubled magazine. It looks like cash is being taken, not given. This is a strange form of stability...

>"This is a strange form of stability..."

How so? Maybe it's "stability" in the sense that NatGeo will continue to be a going concern for the foreseeable future? What sense would it make to buy a struggling business and make no changes?

Massive layoffs is pretty much the opposite of stability.

No, the opposite of stability is heamorraging money. Layoffs may enable them to stop doing that.

It became a greedy, self-serving move the moment they decided it would be a good idea to associate the good name of National Geographic with Murdoch et al.

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