Monday, September 17, 2001

Stock Focus: All Eyes On Them

NEW YORK - In the wake of last week's terrorist attacks, media companies of all sizes did far more than simply deliver news.

The day following the attacks, for example, The Silicon Alley Reporter, a Manhattan-based publication covering New York's new media and Internet industry, set up an emergency database pairing companies displaced from the disaster area with those who might have extra office space. With room to spare at its offices, The Silicon Alley Reporter itself was one of the first volunteers.

"We're going to have five companies living in our office for who knows how long," says Jason Calacanis, The Silicon Alley Reporter's editor and chief executive.

In addition to giving, it's clear that media companies also receive a benefit from the crisis, at least in the short term. "They'll have a tragic story to tell," notes Miles E. Groves, chief economist at the Barry Group, a Bethesda, Md.-based marketing and communications consulting firm. "Viewership, readership and listenership will probably be up across the board over at least the next few weeks."

The longer term is more speculative, Groves warns, particularly with uncertainty over the intensity and duration of the United States' response and the subsequent impact on the economy.

Whatever the outcome, though, more turmoil means more demand for distribution of information. Moreover, should the crisis spur public and private investment in infrastructure and technology, any positive economic impact could help stabilize ad spending budgets.

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