The PJ Tatler

The Schadenfreude Express: The NY Times Loses $40 Million in 2011

Announcing its unprecedented economic losses, The New York Times blamed its precipitous descent not on the ever-diminishing quality of its news-gathering and editorial product but rather on the decline of newspapers in general. Oh, right. According to the Times’ digital news competitor and victor in that competition, London’s The Daily Mail, the Times’ 2011 $40 million loss was attributable to a decline in print advertising.

If you think it’s a simple matter to advertise in the Times, think again.  Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that before buying some ad space, you wanted to do what any advertiser would want to do: find out what the Times’ print advertising rates are.  You could go here, the site to which The New York Times directs its would-be advertisers.

I challenge any PJM reader to explain in the comments section what it costs to run a full-page ad in the main news section of the Sunday paper’s national edition.  Personally, I only have so much time here on Earth and, although I’ve been described as unusually patient, I admit that after 15 minutes of clicking, reading, re-clicking, re-reading, and re-re-clicking and still not succeeding in ferreting out that seemingly basic fact that any would-be advertiser would wish to know, I throw the question open to PJM’s savvy readers.

But that’s my point: if it’s that time-consuming to obtain an advertising rate by using what the Times fecklessly calls its “media kit,” whose opening page declares, “Finding what you need is easy,” all I can do by way of response is to paraphrase one of our less truth-loving former presidents in one of his less straightforward statements, “It depends on what the meaning of ‘easy’ is.”

You don’t need an accounting degree to understand why ad revenues are down if a potential advertiser can’t easily check and see how much it would cost to run an ad in The New York Times’ national edition.

Not that I’d want to advertise in the Times.  Far from it. But I was curious to see just how easy the quondam “newspaper of record” makes it to place an ad.  The answer is not.

Bearing witness to The New York Times doleful efforts to sell off its wildly overpriced tchotchkes on its online store is yet another exercise in New York Times-induced schadenfreude. By clicking here, here, and here you’ll hear an echo of the Book of Samuel‘s mournful line, “How the mighty have fallen…”

Or, as H. Ross Perot so often observed, “It’s just sad.