New York Times publisher concedes end to print

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger said this week the New York Times will no longer appear in print – someday.

Sulberger’s concession to what some call the obvious is a first, according to Henry Blodget in Business Insider, and no small idea.

Loss of print will require restructuring or downsizing the whole company or finding an underwriter (like, say, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim). “The economics of the online news business will not support the infrastructure or newsroom that the printed paper supports,” he says.

“Importantly, even a successful online paywall will not allow the paper to maintain its current cost structure,” Blodget writes. If they pull in 1 million subscribers at $100 each they could meet current costs, assuming no loss in ad revenue.

The New York Times is due to introduce a “metered” paywall in early 2011. Readers will be allowed to access a certain number of articles free each month, then will be asked to pay.

What Sulzberger said in an interview mostly about the paywall with Emma Heald at Editors Weblog was that “we will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD.”

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