Friday, October 31, 2014

Is the New York Times model working?

The 3rd quarter results of the NY Times are mixed. Print advertising keeps going down, by 5.3% so is the print circulation. The new digital applications are not very successful and the Gray lady has dropped its Opinion app. which did not attract enough subscribers. So the diversification of the great daily digital services is disappointing to say the least.
However, subscriptions to the digital edition keep growing to 875000 customers And digital advertising is up by16.5%. The current loss is due mainly to the cost of buying out 100 journalists from the newsroom.

The conclusion is that the global trend of the digital policy of the NYT is fairly successful. More and more people read the digital edition and pay for it between 15 and 20 dollars a month. Advertisers are also coming and financing a growing part of the very large and expensive newsroom.

And yet, there are two limits to this growth. First, the fact that people rely more and more on new circuits, unforeseen 5 years ago: the social networks and specially Facebook which works more and more like a media and then the  internaut uses more and more the smartphone, notably the enlarged one which means a different access to the news and to the ads.

All that means that the NYT like the Guardian or the FT must think very hard about a non so distant future. 5 years are a very long time in the digital age.