The New York Times’ internal Innovation report, leaked after the unexpected ouster of top editor Jill Abramson, brought to light a newsroom culture out of step with changing consumer reading habits. Here, five charts tell the story of the Times’ struggles as it tightens its embrace of digital media.
Digital circulation has been a bright spot for the Times. Since it put up a paywall in 2011, paid digital subscriptions have soared to 799,000 as of the first quarter of this year. Digital-only circulation revenue jumped 33.5 percent in 2013 over 2012, offsetting a decline in print copies sold and contributing to a 3.7 percent increase in total circ revenue.
But total ad revenue — 76 percent of which is derived from print advertising — continues to fall as the Times faces lower print ad revenues across all ad categories. Print ad revenues declined 7 percent in 2013 from the previous year. Digital ad revenue should be a bright spot, but it declined last year, too, by 4.3 percent, on weakness in national and classified ads.
The Times newsroom, by its own admission, is too focused on producing the print edition, even though print only accounts for a small percent of its total readership. Yet even more troubling is that the Times is not only being eclipsed by nimbler, more social-savvy rivals online, but its Web traffic is declining at a time when consumers are turning to the Internet for news, rather than away from it.
Most of the Times’ readers are digital, and while fully 37 percent of its audience comes directly to the site, news consumers overall increasingly are finding their news via search and social networks. Social platforms are becoming a critical way for news outlets to promote their content and drive audiences to their sites, but the Times struggles internally to consistently engage readers this way. As this chart shows, it’s well behind big competitors in terms of the share of its traffic coming from Facebook.
Readership trends don’t favor the Times. Despite its dependence on print advertising, the paper is seeing its readers increasingly getting their news from the Internet. Half of all consumers went online for most of their news in 2013, while the percentage of those getting their news primarily from newspapers slid to under one-third. Despite that, the Times is stuck in a print-centric way of gathering and distributing the news.
Media Briefing: The case for and against monthly and annual subscriptions in the battle for retention
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for improving retention in a subscriptions business. While annual subscribers might stick around longer for some, other publishers will have better luck with monthly plans.
Digiday+ Research: The economy will hit the media and marketing industries this year, but differently
The economy will plague both the media and marketing industries in 2023, but the hit will be uneven between publishers and agencies.
Podcast ad buyers have yet to see a slowdown
Ad buyers have yet to see clients cut their podcast budgets – though the time of podcasts as the shiny new medium may be coming to an end.
SponsoredWhy Best Buy Ads sees retail media as integral to its customer-centric purpose
Sponsored by Best Buy Ads Retail media networks have become critical for marketers, with retailers investing in ways that enable advertisers to engage consumers across online and offline channels. Given the wealth of retailers’ first-party customer data and measurement capabilities, retail media networks have become a natural fit for augmenting performance marketing programs. Alongside the […]
The programmatic open marketplace is faltering, but publishers see a bright spot in private programmatic deals
Publishers are coming to terms with their open programmatic marketplace RPMs being 20-55% lower than they were this time last year, but the hope is that programmatic guaranteed deals will make up the deficit.
Atlas Obscura wants to be profitable before raising funds in a tricky media market
Atlas Obscura wants to turn a profit this year before it raises another funding round, at a time when publishers are facing lower valuations and pickier investors as deal activity slows.