The results of the N Y Times for the second quarter were a cold shower on the hopes of the US media community. In his blog for Nieman Lab, Ken Doctor wonders whether the continuing decline of print ads, 4% less and the slowing increase of digital subscribers, 32000, mean that the Grey Lady is not succeeding its challenge.
If it were so, it would be a very bad signal for the European and American newspapers which have been following very closely the NYT strategy.
The big question is whether it will be possible one day to finance a large and efficient newsroom with a mostly digital income. To day, we get conflicting signals. On the positive side, it seems that more and more people get used to paywalls and digital subscriptions. On the negative side, there is a mssive transfer of the readership from computers to mobile devices, mainly smartphones where ads and easy reading are not easy to get. And also, there is in both Europe and the US a sharp fall of print advertising while big digital supports like Google or Facebook dominate more and more the market. Presently, Google absorbs 30% of digital advertising in the world and print media cannot compete.
Now, advertising makes hardly 35% of the NYT income. 10 years ago, it was twice as much. Same thing with European newspapers. The safe financing of good information remains in doubt.