New York Times’s Front Page: Worth $29 Million a Year?

Published on January 6, 2009
by Peter Kafka

Snap consensus on the New York Times’s (NYT) decision to start selling space on its front page to advertisers: What took you so long?

In another era, the move would have occasioned finger-wagging from a certain kind of journalistic moralizer. But I think that any moralizers left are busy job-hunting or thinking about new careers. And the Times certainly needs the cash.

But how much cash will this provide? Reuters’s excellent Robert MacMillan takes some preliminary guesstimates from the New York Post and does his own rough math. He figures the Times could pull in $28.6 million a year if it sells the inventory every day of the year. For comparison, that’s a little more than nine percent of the company’s November sales.

Very nice, especially given that this is essentially found money that the Times can count on as along it still has a sales staff and a print edition. But at this rate, that may not be long. Again: What took you so long?

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