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Summary:

The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) is once again looking at serious ways beyond advertising to make its content pay — and this time the…

The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) is once again looking at serious ways beyond advertising to make its content pay — and this time the news comes from the highest source, Chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.. Sulzberger raised the subject in a carefully planned keynote on media literacy at Stony Brook University Thursday, explaining: “Today, in the face of the economic downturn, we have renewed our analysis of how paid content can augment our core advertising business. The trick, of course, is to garner incremental revenue from the user without significantly cannibalizing the high rate ad pages that now account for a very significant amount of money.”

And yes, he did mention the company’s decision to launch and then shutter TimesSelect after it generated $10 million in revenue. His words echoed those earlier this week of Martin Nisenholtz, who heads NYTCo’s digital efforts, as he told an online user about the need to balance paid content with a large national revenue stream.

But Sulzberger raised other issues as well: “Most of our thinking revolves around the fact that we have almost uniquely achieved substantial scale throughout the world and have become part and parcel of the global discourse. This achievement has significant journalistic and financial ramifications and we do not want to take any steps that significantly reduces our presence on the Web. Other prominent news-gathering sites may be less interested in scale and that might give them the flexibility to pursue an even more aggressive paid content strategy. What we have learned over the last decade and half is that the Web has very few generally accepted rules for financial success, and they are inevitably overturned by the next digital cycle and next breakthrough algorithm.”

The keynote itself covers much more ground and is worth a read. I’ll add video and/or audio if available.

  1. Mark financial Monday, March 16, 2009

    Biased left wing rag needs to die.

    They haven’t been reporting news for decades – they generate it.

    And what they generate is divorced from reality and insults the intelligence of the reader.

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  2. A few months ago I started thinking about what a huge part of my life the NY Times is, and how much my life would suffer if the paper and/or the site failed. At that point I decided that I'd like to support the NYT organization. But I don't believe in buying dead trees — as much as I enjoy the actual broadsheet experience. So I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

    Funny that someone would call it a "biased left wing rag." He just prefers his biased right wing rag.

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  3. Exactly… these right-wingers who love bashing the Times need to be reminded how it played its part in giving Bush carte blanche in the build up to the ill-advised Irag war. Judith Miller might as well have been working for Fox News!

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  4. Let's see what the NY Times comes up with for pay content. All the news that they report can be found for FREE on-line!

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