Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Readers Pay More for New York Times, Advertisers Pay Less

Give the New York Times credit for consistency: All year long, it has been recording a declining ad business and a growing consumer business, and that’s what it reported again today.

The Times says ad sales dropped 8.9 percent last quarter, while circulation revenue climbed 7.4 percent.

The Times blames the ad drop on “the challenging economic environment, ongoing secular trends and an increasingly complex and fragmented digital advertising marketplace.” It says it expects to see similar numbers for the rest of year.

But the Times’ readers keep giving the publisher more money. It is selling fewer print copies of its papers, but it is charging more money for them. And it now has nearly 600,000 people paying for digital subscriptions, up 11 percent from the last quarter.

The Times’ ad slump is hitting both its print and digital operations. Print ad sales are down 10.9 percent, and digital is down 2.2 percent. Here’s the breakdown by category:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work