Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Newspaper shrinkage ‘will continue’

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Henry Blodget and Kamelia Angelova, using The New York Times as the example, lay out for Business Insider how newspapers are bound to disappear — complete with a colorful illustrative graph.

“Its core business, the print newspaper, is shrinking, and its digital business, however successful, cannot replace the lost revenue and profitability of the print business. … And despite the enormous cost cuts the company has made since the early 2000s, its operating profit — even in a recovery year like 2010 — doesn’t approach the fat years of a decade ago.

“Unless the New York Times Company can figure out a way to turn around the print newspaper circulation revenue (highly unlikely), this shrinkage will continue.”

Newspapers cut fewer jobs in 2010

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Paper Cuts, the site that tracks newspaper layoffs, reported far fewer jobs lost at the nation’s papers in 2010 compared to the two previous years, says Fishbowl L.A. Of course, there are far fewer jobs left to be cut.

The industry shed some 2,800 jobs this year –  layoffs and buyouts the site tracks of newspaper personnel “from editor to ad rep, reporter to marketing, copy editor to pressman, design to carrier, and anyone else who works for a newspaper” – compared to about 15,000 in 2009 and 16,000 in 2008. The total does not count jobs lost through attrition, i.e., left unfilled after someone leaves voluntarily.

“But it’s also become more obvious that many papers are laying off employees and never publicly acknowledging it,” Paper Cuts’ Erica Smith told FBLA. “Even with many of those numbers filled in, though, I don’t think the total will hit 2008 or 2009 levels.”

The Paper Cuts site has Google Maps mash-ups that show job cuts at individual papers dating to 2007, including  2010 job cuts at The News & Observer in Raleigh (21; owned by McClatchy), The Winston-Salem Journal  (“unknown”; Media General), the Asheville Citizen-Times (4; Gannett),  the Star News in Wilmington (2; New York Times), NASCAR Scene in Charlotte (18; Advance Publications), the Independent-Tribune of Concord-Kannapolis (“unknown”; Media General), The Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. (7; McClatchy), The State of Columbia, S.C. (12; McClatchy), The Greenville (S.C.) News (7; Gannett), and The Morning News of Florence, S.C. (“unknown”; Media General).

Newspapers pushed for guarantees

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Two print media buying groups that control about $2 billion in annual spending are demanding that newspapers provide circulation guarantees, and the nation’s largest newspapers are acceding, according to Mediaweek.

Dean Singleton, chairman and CEO, MediaNews Group, told the publication that newspapers have never guaranteed circulation, and suggested using “audience” or readership instead. Readership numbers are higher than circulation, based on the theory that most copies of a newspaper are read by more than one person.

Singleton also said that rate bases would complicate the ad-sales process because buyers don’t want multiple ways of doing business, Mediaweek said. (Wouldn’t it mean switching to this way of doing business, complicating things for a time for ad sellers?)

MediaVest and Starcom USA are the two groups pushing for the new standards. The New York Times and USA Today are among those said to have agreed to the demands.

Tribune Co. and The Wall Street Journal already offer circulation guarantees.

Print revenue losses swamping newspapers

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

AP business writer Andrew Vanacore takes a look at the 3Q earnings reports from McClatchy, New York Times and others, and says things don’t look good for the industry.

“[P]ublishers still haven’t been able to reverse a slump in sales more than three years after it began” and they are not “able to draw enough new business from … digital operations to make up for the losses in print,” he writes.

“The outlook entering the holiday season isn’t much better.”

The NYT and McClatchy saw worse declines in September than a year before despite less-bad year-to-year numbers for the prior two months.

“On a conference call with analysts, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt had to fend off repeated attempts to get a more detailed picture of where things stand going into the holidays.

“‘We intentionally did not release any results for October or speak to them because we don’t think they are meaningful at this time, and we lack visibility as we look forward into the fourth quarter,’ he said.”

New York Times publisher concedes end to print

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

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.”

Better papers tap readers to build revenue

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Newsonomics author Ken Doctor finds that newspaper companies are turning to higher prices for the paper itself to battle revenue declines, rendering the traditional 80/20 ad-circulation split obsolete. And  the ones that are doing it well are getting away with charging readers more because they’ve made their papers better, he says.

“While the digital news world seems consumed with conversations about paywalls and memberships, it is old-fashioned print circulation revenue that is the gainer in the post-80/20 formulas,” Doctor writes for Nieman Journalism Lab. “Sure, advertising’s ski slope decline has greatly altered the 80/20. So has, though, the significant up-pricing of both subscriptions and single copies over the past three years.”

A leader in the trend is apparently The Dallas Morning News, which raised the price of monthly subscriptions from $18 to $30 and is earning 38 percent of its revenue from circulation, 54 percent from advertising, and 8 percent from “contract printing plus,” he says.

The Dallas paper’s parent, A.H. Belo, reported a 6.6 percent increase in circulation revenue in the second quarter, while The New York Times Company reported a 3.2 percent increase and Scripps had a 4.5 percent increase in the first quarter (Scripps’ 2Q report is due Monday).

“Significantly, I think, each of those companies may have done a better job of minimizing newsroom cuts and reinvesting — at least a little — in that now higher-priced product,” Doctor says.

Better than whom? Better than McClatchy, which reported a 2.5 percent circulation revenue decline in the second quarter (and has raised prices); Lee, which was down 4.4 percent; and Gatehouse, which was down 2.5 percent.

Doctor has the current splits for each of the four publishers, and for McClatchy, the one we follow, it’s pretty much the newly declared old-hat model of 20 percent circulation, 76 percent ads and 4 percent other.

Gannett leads off 1Q reports with a hit

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Cost cutting and a not-as-bad advertising climate in the first quarter made Gannett Co. look good in its 1Q earnings report Friday, and the tide lifted not all but some boats.

“Gannett did not issue formal earnings guidance for the current quarter or the rest of the year, and CEO Craig Dubow declined to give specifics on how ad revenue is shaping up in April,” The Associated Press said. “But he told analysts on a conference call that the year was ‘off to a great start.’ He added: ‘The momentum that we had at the end of the year continued through the first quarter.’

“Gannett was the first major publisher to report earnings for the January-March period and could offer a preview of what will come next week from McClatchy Co., Lee Enterprises Inc. and The New York Times Co.”

After surging to a new 52-week high of $19.68 in early trading, Gannett shares retreated to $18.04 Friday afternoon, down $0.10 on the day. McClatchy rose $0.42 to $6.46, and Lee shares jumped $0.31 to $4.35. The New York Times was down $0.36 to $12.35.

Gannett, which owns USA Today and more than 80 other daily newspapers along with TV stations, said its net income jumped 51 percent despite a 4 percent decline in revenue. Last year it cut 1,400 jobs, or about 3 percent of its work force.

As for McClatchy, which reports April 22, “JP Morgan forecasts that ads will be off by 8.4 percent as circulation continues to grow,” says PaidContent.org. “While the circulation gains might not offset negativity on the ad front, cost-cuts should help margins jump to 25 percent from 1Q ’09’s 12 percent. Ebitda should rise 91 percent to $83 million.

“In general, McClatchy’s heavy presence in Florida and California means that its fortunes are directly tied to the economic winds in those two troubled states. Ultimately, that will add to the general industry-wide woes affecting the publisher.”

Everything, all the time

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Google has upped the ante for life in the fast lane, delivering “a page where breaking news, Twitter feeds, blog entries and other content automatically refreshes every few seconds,” the San Jose Mercury News says.

Google is not the first to offer real-time search, but it is “trying to go a step further by having the new results appear automatically, without refreshing the page,” says The Wall Street Journal’s report.

Real-time search began to roll out for users Monday and will become fully available to everyone by the end of the day [Tuesday],” the Mercury News says. “Google said the real-time capability … in the next several weeks will also include public status updates from Facebook and MySpace.”

By early 2010, Google plans to enable smart-phones to easily translate speech between languages.

But wait, there’s more …

Google also introduced Living Stories on Tuesday, which bundles newspaper articles about specific topics on a single page. “Complete coverage of an on-going story is gathered together and prioritized on one URL,” the Web site says. “You can now quickly navigate between news articles, opinion pieces and features without long waits for pages to load.”

So far, The New York Times and The Washington Post are the only papers participating. According to the Associated Press, which calls the service an “attempt to help out the ailing newspaper industry,” Google isn’t paying the newspapers to feature the content, and there aren’t any immediate plans to sell advertising alongside the material, said Josh Cohen, a Google product manager overseeing the project.”

Howard Kurtz, at The Post explains: “By grouping the stories … day after day under one Web address, the Times and Post could boost their Google rankings, which would tend to push those pages toward the top of the list when people search for that subject. After the Tuesday launch, the story pages will reside at Google Labs for an experimental period of two to three months, and revert to the papers’ own Web sites if all goes well.

“‘Over the coming months, we’ll refine Living Stories based on your feedback,’ Google says in a blog posting. If the format gains traction, Google plans to offer it to any interested newspaper, magazine or Web site, at no charge.”

In its report, The Times says, “The announcement of the “living stories” project shows Google collaborating with newspapers at a time when some major publishers have characterized the company as a threat.”

“The page you are taken toward is a rich multimedia experience, complete with a timeline outlining key events, a sidebar that breaks down coverage (for Afghanistan, it’s divided between Opinion, Casualties, U.S. Policy and other topics), and an RSS feed-like display of recent articles,” says Ben Parr at Mashable.com.  “It’s clean and simple, but effectively explains key issues.”

Can the New York Times find some fat?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The New York Times is looking for 100 employees to take a buyout package by December 7, and one of the Times’ actual packages sent to every employee has landed in the hands of The New York Observer’s John Koblin. “[D]epending on your perspective,” he says, its contents is “either impressive or absolutely mind-boggling.”

The buyout offer is “generally three weeks pay per year of service, and up to two years pay for longtime employees.”  The general McClatchy offer, for comparison, is one week of pay per year of service up to 26 weeks.

Beyond the buyout offer, the package lists the number of employees in each job in the company, Koblin says. Among those listed:

Editors at the Book Review: 14

Reporters at Metro: 50

Size of the Opinion/Editorial Department: 49

Size of Sports Desk: 57

Critics in the Culture Department: 18

Editors at The Times Magazine: 21

Total size of Art Department: 113

We hesitated to use this piece because we don’t have solid numbers for comparison from, say, The News & Observer. But let’s just say it’s a hell of a lot less.