Peter Kafka

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New York Times Sees Digital Ads Droop

The New York Times says its digital paywall strategy is a success with consumers. But its digital advertising business stumbled last quarter, and dropped by 2 percent.

Times CEO Arthur Sulzberger Jr. blamed an “uneven U.S. economic environment and uncertain global conditions” for weak ad sales in general — overall ad sales were down 6.1 percent at the publisher’s core News Media Group — and said digital sales were “under pressure in the first two months of the year.”

The publisher says it expects to see similar ad results for the second quarter of 2012.

Meanwhile the Times’ About.com content farm continues to struggle, and saw its revenue drop 23.1 percent.

Times readers, though, seem happy to pay for the paper.

Circulation revenue was up 9.7 percent, and the Times has close to half a million people shelling out for digital access. The Times is trying to boost that number by pulling back on the free digital content it gives to nonsubscribers.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Ritu Manoj Jethani)


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