The Los Angeles Register is the latest offering to roll off the
presses of California-based Freedom Communications, the publisher of
the Orange County Register, The Press-Enterprise in Riverside and
the Long Beach Register.
Aaron Kushner, who owns Freedom, is attempting to dominate local
news coverage in Southern California, a competitive area with
distinctly different communities.
"Los Angeles is a large and vibrant market," Kushner said in a phone
interview, arguing that the Los Angeles Register can thrive among
other daily newspapers in the city that includes the Los Angeles
Times and Digital First's Los Angeles Daily News.
"We believe there is a place for our kind of newspaper in Los
Kushner is launching the Los Angeles Register during a challenging
time for an industry that is plagued by plummeting advertising
revenue and people who are ditching print in favor of news on mobile
He is banking on the fact that the city is ready to embrace a
newspaper with a different political viewpoint that is "right of
center," he said.
But what works for the Orange County Register, a paper that for
decades has been known for its libertarian editorial pages, may be a
tougher sell in a liberal-leaning Los Angeles.
"Strategically in the unsettled market of greater Los Angeles they
are now the most aggressive player," said Ken Doctor, an analyst
with Outsell Research.
"But it's pretty hard in 2014 to find new five-day or seven-day
print subscribers of newspapers."
Kushner would not reveal the print run of the Los Angeles Register — only that it is available in 6,000 retail outlets and will be ready
for home delivery on May 1.
"We have a very simple business model," Kushner said. "Invest in
staff and the paper and cover things locally readers are most
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Indeed, when Kushner bought Freedom in 2012 he doubled the size of
the newsroom in Orange County. But he soon faced the challenges
hitting other publishers. The paper cut 32 jobs at the beginning of
the year. It now has about 370 staffers, some of which are going to
the new paper in Los Angeles.
"It's pretty clear they over-invested in Orange County," Doctor
Kushner declined to reveal if privately held Freedom was profitable.
A former greetings card business man from Massachusetts, Kushner
first came on the media scene in 2010 when he offered to buy The
Boston Globe from The New York Times.
His name often surfaces as a potential newspaper buyer, although he
has had difficulties closing past deals, and is currently involved
in a lawsuit with Freedom Communications' former shareholders.
Kushner made it known in the past that he wanted to buy the Tribune
Co newspapers which publishes the cross-town rival the Los Angeles
Times, when it was exploring a possible auction. Tribune plans to
spin out its newspaper properties.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York;
editing by Bernard Orr)
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