Perception is reality

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Isn’t self-perception a funny thing. The NY Times has told readers that “Real news deserves real journalism” and that it is “more essential than ever.” So essential that it is being offered at 50% off. Now I haven’t seen the latest subscriber stats but one wonders if it was such a quality newspaper there would be no need to deeply discount – the comments from Facebook feeds look pretty damning and perhaps telling.

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Ouch – sometimes the “truth”hurts!

It seems perhaps they are not reading between the lines of their own paper which on Nov 2 wrote:

“The New York Times Company on Wednesday reported a steep decline in print advertising revenue for the third quarter, adding to the newspaper industry’s woes.

For the quarter, print advertising revenue fell 19 percent, driving an 8 percent decline in total advertising revenue. The drop followed a 14 percent decline in print advertising revenue in the second quarter.

Digital advertising revenue, however, which now represents 36 percent of the company’s advertising revenue, increased 21 percent in the quarter, to $44 million, a welcome relief for the company after a decline in digital advertising last quarter. The Times also added 116,000 net digital-only subscriptions for news products during the quarter, bringing its total to 1.3 million. Including crossword product subscriptions, it has about 1.6 million digital-only subscribers.

This is an anxious and challenging time for the newspaper industry. The Times results were announced the same day that The Wall Street Journal informed its staff of sweeping changes to its print paper, including a cutback to its Greater New York section. On Tuesday the Gannett Company, the publisher of USA Today and more than 100 other papers, walked away from its deal to acquire Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, in part because of the financial obstacles involved.

Print advertising revenue, which once sustained newspaper companies, has been falling for years. But the pace of the decline has accelerated, and digital advertising and other forms of revenue have not yet bridged the gap.

In an earnings call on Wednesday, Mark Thompson, chief executive of the Times Company, said it had been “a much tougher quarter for print advertising” for the company, but he focused largely on The Times’s digital success.

At The Times, adjusted operating profit, the company’s preferred method for assessing performance, fell to $39 million, from $48 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

The Times took a $2.9 million charge related to the closing of its Paris editing and prepress operations.”

Seems a lot like Fairfax in Australia.

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