Summary:

Updated: The New York Times will be getting a more international flavor as the website for the International Herald Tribune is shut down and…

imageUpdated: The New York Times will be getting a more international flavor as the website for the International Herald Tribune is shut down and its content is moved over blends with NYTimes.com for a co-branded global edition in the spring. Forbes.com originally reported that the site would shut down but that is not the case, as explained in the memo we’re posting after the jump. Vivian Schiller, SVP and GM of NYTimes.com told us today that the idea is to have one big global brand under one roof but stressed that IHT.com will be co-branded and will feature IHT content. Users will be able to choose between a US and a Global edition, something NYTimes.com currently doesn’t offer. The sales staff already was combined “so this makes their message a lot clearer.” There will be staff changes but an editorial team remains in Paris while the production will be handled from New York, since the two will share a single platform. The IHT, owned by New York Times (NYSE: NYT) Media Group, is published in 180 countries but has struggled to keep up with the web operations of its more illustrious sister title. While NYTimes.com attracted 19.4 million unique monthly users in August, Paris-based IHT.com got just 2.5 million, according to Comscore.

This has been under consideration for a while now, and some previous details came out in June. The IHT site is already accessible through http://iht.nytimes.com/. Recently, IHT changed its logo and added a tagline: The Global Edition of New York Times.

As Forbes puts it, “The IHT site has long been an anachronism in an age where the flagship NYTimes.com was available anywhere in the world“. NYTimes.com general manager Vivian Schiller told Forbes that “it’s absolutely, positively not about cost savings” and would give the Times more opportunities to monetize its foreign web traffic, which makes up between 18 and 20 percent of its total audience, as well as increasing inventory.

– IHT.com has experimented with content syndication deals to increase its audience and in December last year hooked up with Reuters to create the Business With Reuters section in the a print and web partnership. This and other schemes clearly did not generate enough traffic and revenue to justify a standalone site. Just last month NYTimes.com and IHT.com announced a syndication deal with financial analysis site BreakingViews.

Memo from IHT Publisher Stephen Dunbar-Johnson and NYTimes.com SVP/GM Vivian Schiller

To Our Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that our vision to become a global powerhouse news Web site is soon to become a reality. Next spring, NYTimes.com and IHT.com will combine forces to form a joint international presence that can deliver the scale, the user engagement and the resources we need to compete for readers and advertisers. The advantages are manifest: the digital expertise and resources of NYTimes.com, the international experience and voice of the IHT and the joint power of both newsrooms.

So what does this mean? Come launch, NYTimes.com will feature a Dynamic new co-branded global edition home page that will feature stories selected for international users. Regular NYTimes.com users will be able to opt-in to that new home page; the IHT.com url will also redirect there. We will also feature six new global section fronts, again chosen for international readers: business, travel, culture, sports, style and opinion. Those will be found alongside the standard NYTimes.com section fronts and also featured on the global edition homepage. All IHT content will now be published on the integrated site as well as archived and searchable on NYTimes.com

There is much work to be done in the coming days and weeks. Members of the IHT-NYT Web project team — Victoria Shannon, Charlotte Gordon, Jen Hanks, Hayley Nelson and Dominique Piteux, and Jim Roberts — will be in contact with many of you in the newsroom, in advertising sales, in marketing and in finance and IT for your help in shaping, finalizing and delivering this creative and innovative new global edition to the online marketplace. We want and need our best minds grappling with the issues and refining the
details as the project moves from the planning stage into development and implementation.

There is no doubt that this integration project is a large and complex endeavour and it has forced some hard decisions about jobs at the IHT. IHT HR and others are working closely with New York colleagues to reassign and in some instances relocate individuals in Paris and Hong Kong whose positions will be affected next year. Good progress is being made.

When this project is completed, we will have an amazing international news site that showcases the IHT

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