Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

No News for the New York Times: Circulation Up, Ad Sales Down

New quarter, same news for the New York Times.

That is, the publisher says that over the last three months it saw circulation revenue increase, and both print and digital ads decrease.

Growth in circulation was a little bit slower than the last quarter — the Times’ core “News Media Group” saw an 8.3 percent increase, compared to a 9.7 percent bump in Q1. But the digital ad slump was also a little less bad: That same unit saw digital ads decrease by 1.6 percent instead of 2.3 percent.

Some of those circ gains come from the Times’ digital paywall. The paper says it now has 532,000 subscribers, up from 472,000 last quarter. It credits some of that rise to its decision to make it harder to read the paper online without paying for it.

The other news coming out of Times Square today is also familiar: The publisher has big problems with About Group, the content-generation machine that set the template for the likes of Demand Media.

The Times took a $195 million goodwill write-down on the unit, which it bought for $410 million in 2005. But the publisher did say cost-per-click ads were improving for About.

Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. says About “continues to execute on its turnaround strategy and we expect it to be on track to post continued meaningful improvement in the second half of the year.” No news on that CEO search, by the way.

Update: Strike that. The NYT talked to someone at the NYT who says the NYT board could announce the hire “as early as September.”

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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