'The Incredible Shrinking New York Times'

Business Insider notes that the Gray Lady’s “core business, the print newspaper, is shrinking, and its digital business, however successful, cannot replace the lost revenue and profitability of the print business:”


The chart below lays out the problem: After a century of growth, the New York Times’s news business peaked earlier this decade with just over $3 billion in revenue and $500 million of operating profit. In the years since, however, the company’s revenue and operating profit have begun to shrink.

And despite the enormous cost cuts the company has made since the early 2000s, its operating profit–even in a recovery year like 2010–doesn’t approach the fat years of a decade ago.

Unless the New York Times Company can figure out a way to turn around the print newspaper circulation revenue (highly unlikely), this shrinkage will continue. Even if the online paywall is wildly successful, it will not replace the circulation and ad revenue the company will lose as print subscribers cancel.  And as the print business shrinks, the print cost structure that supports it will have to shrink, too.

Of course, revenues aren’t the only thing shrinking at the Gray Lady — its self-imposed ideology puts blinkers on what it will and won’t report. John Aglialoro, the producer of the new Atlas Shrugged movie is looking at his film’s under-performing box office and rues, “The New York Times gave us the most hateful review of all — they didn’t cover it.”


But that isn’t all that surprising from the New York Times. As this excerpt highlights from the New Criterion of William McGowan’s Gray Lady Down, his must-read profile of the Times’ myriad woes,  the newspaper’s hyper-politicized book review section routinely ignores best-selling conservative titles:

Times critics are always alert to possible victories by the Left in the culture war. In 2003, as the war was growing fiercer because of the invasion of Iraq, the Sunday Week in Review section ran a piece about a possible literary upswing for progressives. “For the first time in recent memory,” Emily Eakin noted, “The Times [bestseller] list, the nation’s most influential barometer of book sales, is pitting liberals and conservatives against each other in roughly equal numbers, ending what some publishing executives say is nearly a decade of dominance by right-wing authors.” Alongside such conservative best-selling authors as Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham were liberal-minded books like Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken, Bushwhacked by Molly Ivins, The Great Unraveling by Paul Krugman, Big Lies by Joe Conason, and Thieves in High Places by Jim Hightower.

Eakin may have been right in calling the Times Book Review’s bestseller list “the nation’s most influential barometer of book sales.” But its value as an objective measurement of American literary taste is compromised in view of the fact that all the liberal books Eakin noted had recieved reviews in that same publication, while none of the conservative authors did—in fact, dozens of conservative books have been studiously ignored by the Times despite their commercial success.


Why would the producers of Atlas expect any different from the Times’ film critics?

Related: At Power Line, the Gray Lady and “Dawn of the unbook.”

Keep that cocoon pinched up tight!


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