Denver tycoon Philip Anschutz not only doesn't grant interviews, his company releases virtually no information on sales or strategy related to his newest foray: media. His latest acquisition
was The Weekly Standard.
Anschutz has been giving away newspapers since 2004, when he bought the San Francisco Examiner for $11 million. He used the 139-year-old paper to create brand extensions for two other free papers, the Washington Examiner and Baltimore Examiner. Last year he rolled out Web sites targeting 90 cities under the Examiner name, packed with local user-generated content from "examiners." But at the start of this year, all three of Anchutz's dailies were losing money and the Baltimore paper was shuttered.
Anschutz doesn't seem to mind losing more money with The Weekly Standard. A bastion of leading conservative writers, including founder Bill Kristol, the paper may not advance his readership much, but it will give him political influence. Could Anschutz be planning to move The Weekly Standard to a free model? Not likely. "That would dilute their demographics," says media analyst John Morton.