Updated: 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.