NY Times finally figures out paywall financing

It took some time, and no doubt more thought, but the New York Times has finally figured out a fairly sophisticated way to charge for web content, essentially charging heavier users while letting casual users continue to access content free. Basically, we’ve got 20 chances a month to access any aspect of their web site — stories, crosswords, recipes, streaming videos, interviews etc. — before a fee kicks in. Also, they are not charging for secondary referral to their sites, from Google searches say. The extremists on both ends will howl — either all free or all pay — but I think it’s a reasoned, thoughtful way to balance access with costs of producing content. Aristotelian, in fact.

journalism.co.uk, March 17 2011

Buyer for Boston Globe rumored

A number of media outlets are reporting an offer for the Boston Globe by vulture/venture fund Platinum Equity, for $35 million cash and the assumption of $59 million in pension liabilities. This on an asset purchased by the New York Times for $1.2 billion, a billion dollar loss. Wonder if this is the kind of grim news the Aspers/Peladeau would get if they try to sell their newspapers in Canada (although the crunch here has been less severe.)

LA Times, August 7 2009

NY Times hikes price, whacks union

The daily copy of the New York Times has gone up one third, to US$2, in an effort to offset ad losses. Hmmm, paying for content; what a radical notion. Expect to see this coming to Canada soon, particularly by CanWest and the Sun chain.
Subscriptions/single copy sales have traditionally been a money loser. The main reason newspapers still have them is they can use those numbers to drive ad sales; the more subscriptions, the higher the sales. That’s one of the arguments for free circulation newspapers, that you don’t have the costs of managing unprofitable subscriptions.

On another front, the NYTimes-owned Boston Globe just got major concessions from its unions.

AP/Canoe, May 7 2009

NY Times looks for angel

The Wall Street Journal reports that the New York Times is in discussion with one of the world’s richest men, Mexico telco’s Carlos Slim, to inject millions into the newspaper in the form of preferred shares. This would helpĀ  the Times live through the current credit and ad crunch, and no doubt give Mr. Slim a nice return on the dividend. Like other US newspapers, the Times has cut staff and slashed its dividend by 75 per cent, with Wall Street urging it to divest itself of non-core assets like the Boston Globe (but who would buy it these days.) Desperate times for the US newspaper business.

Wall St. Journal, Jan. 19, 2009: You need to subscribe to read the whole story, but you can catch it on B8 of today’s Report on Business.

CNN flips the crawl

Watching CNN lately? Noticed the crawl is not longer endlessly drifting across the bottom of the screen, giving you information the talking heads aren’t? New York Times reports that CNN is trying to address Attention Deficit Disorder amongst its viewers by having the crawl actually be relevant to what the talking heads are reporting. Might be an interesting new trend. With thanks to Tyler McMurchy.

New York Times, Dec. 20 2008

Chicago Trib files for bankrupty; NY Times reaches out

The state of US newspapers is much more parlous than that of their international brethren. Today, the Chicago Tribune files for bankruptcy, hoping to escape huge debt. Meanwhile, the New York Times reaches out, linking its sites to other media sites, including competitors, in order to compete with media aggregators. Stay tuned.

NY Times, The Financial Post Dec. 8 2008

Chicago Tribune, Associated Press/CTV, Dec. 8 2008

Americans rely on old media in credit crisis

Interesting story from Saturday’s Globe about the huge web traffic going to MSM sites like the New York Times and Wall St. Journal. While the subscriptions are still declining, nevertheless, people go to trusted sources first, not the blogosphere, for credible information in a crunch.

Globe and Mail, Oct. 4 2008

NY Times takes financial hit

Ad revenues down 16 per cent, overall revenues down 10 per cent. The US newspaper industry is continuing to bleed. It is unique though. Around the world, Canadian and European newspapers are generally steady (ad/circulation revenue at plus/minus three per cent a quarter, depending on the time of year.) China and India are booming. The US newspapers have been hit by a double whammy of the credit crunch and the burst housing bubbles. Discretionary spending is tightening, and hitting staples of newspaper ads such as cars, houses, entertainment etc.

Associated Press, August 26 2008