Decision to keep Globe ‘painful’

October 16, 2009

IN one of the most bizarre managerial about-faces of the year, The New York Times Co. as withdrawn the Boston Globe from sale after touting it around the market for more than six months.

Chairman Arthur Sulzberger told staff in a memo that the decision to keep the Boston Globe was “a long and painful process”.

(Not a sentiment that would do much for staff morale at the Boston Globe).

Mr Sulzberger said the Globe had dramatically improved its financia position and its future strategy.

The Globe has made cuts of $US20 million in operating expenses in an effort to reduce the impact of a previous estimated $US80 million loss for the year.

Journal poised to be America’s top model

October 16, 2009

THE Wall Street Journal has forecast an increase in daily sales of 12,000 for the previous six months – a result that will make it the highest selling newspaper in the United States.

It would take the No.1 position from USA Today, which earlier this week said its circulation would fall 17 percent to 1.88 million.

This significant fall is a result of falling distribution to hotel rooms and airports, where it has almost a monopoly position. As the economy starts to recover, USA Today is likely to regain these current losses.

The Wall St Journal will break through the 2 million sales barrier when official audit figures confirm the newspaper’s rise of increased circulation. The figures will be released on October 27 and reflect newspaper sales from April through to September.

The previous six-month results showed a drop of more than 7 percent in newspaper sales across the US. By comparison, regional markets of Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have been steady or increased overall during the same period

WSJ set to be America’s top model

October 16, 2009

THE Wall Street Journal has forecast an increase in daily sales of 12,000 for the previous six months – a result that will make it the highest selling newspaper in the United States.

It would take the No.1 position from USA Today, which earlier this week said its circulation would fall 17 percent to 1.88 million.

This significant fall is a result of falling distribution to hotel rooms and airports, where it has almost a monopoly position. As the economy starts to recover, USA Today is likely to regain these current losses.

The Wall St Journal will break through the 2 million sales barrier when official audit figures confirm the newspaper’s rise of increased circulation. The figures will be released on October 27 and reflect newspaper sales from April through to September.

The previous six-month results showed a drop of more than 7 percent in newspaper sales across the US. By comparison, regional markets of Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have been steady or increased overall during the same period.

Globe saved from fire sale

October 15, 2009

THE game of cat and mouse to sell the Boston Globe has finally ended. The New York Times has withdrawn the newspaper from sale.

The Globe, which the NYT company bought in 1993 for $US1.1 billion, had received bids in the region of $US30-40 million only.

News that it would stay within the Times family has been broken by the Wall Street Journal this afternoon.
Times management, however, still wants to sell the regional and suburban publisher, The Worcester Telegram and Gazette. However, it is unlikely the two current bidders will continue a pursuit of this company, as the Globe was more than simply a jewel in the crown of the New England newspaper company.

The Globe had been on course to lose $US85 million this year.

Management demanded it make cuts of up to $US50 million to operating expenses – a response that drew angry responses from unions and the newsroom.

Finally the Globe came up with savings of $US20 million – after votes by multiple unions – and that appears to have saved the paper from a fire sale. That, and the improved performance of the New York Times in the previous quarter and the perceived improving economic conditions for newspapers in the US.

E-Readers to make an expensive entry

October 13, 2009

ONE of the highest profile e-readers – the Kindle 2 – will make an expensive entry into the Australian and New Zealand markets.

The devices are seen as potentially another publishing platform for newspapers and have inspired research and development initiatives from News Corporation and the major US publisher, Gannett.

The Kindle 2 goes on sales in Australia next Tuesday and will cost A$309.

The real cost that might hold back adoption is the price of books that can be downloaded on to the e-reader.

While Americans currently pay $US9.99 for a book, the local markets will be asked to pay the equivalent of $US14.

The maker of the Kindle, online store Amazon, claims the price differentiation is
due to increased operating costs in overseas markets.

However, the cost of reading a book on a Kindle remains substantially less than most new paperbacks and hardbacks in the Australian and New Zealand markets.

The critical test will be to see whether avid readers value the possession of the hardcopy book as much as the intellectual property itself – a statement that might very well be made regarding print newspapers and their digital alternatives.

Iconic food magazine to close

October 13, 2009

A CONSULTING project undertaken by McKinsey has ended with Conde Nast closing its iconic food magazine, Gourmet – the oldest title of its type in the United States. Even with a circulation of 980,000, Gourmet has lost half of its advertising as a result of the US recession. It is to shut along with Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Cookie. Other publications Portfolio, a business magazine, and Domino, a lifestyle title, went south earlier this year.

Conde Nast CEO Charles Townsend said the closures gave the company an opportunity to “to navigate through the economic downturn and to position us to take advantage of coming opportunities.”

A Twitter post from Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl said: “We’re all stunned, sad.”

London paper gets its ‘free-dom’

October 13, 2009

THE London Evening Standard – a case study for business transformation at the PANPA Future Forum last month – has changed its business model.

It has dropped its 50p copy price and went free yesterday, ending 182 years as a paid-for title.

The Standard now goes head-to-head with London Lite – a freebie owned by Associated Newspapers.

This is the latest chapter in its transformation since being bought for £1 by Alexandev Lebedev, a former KGB agent and now a billionaire who has given his newspaper three years to get into profit.

The paper will increase its print run from 250,000 to 600,000 in a make or break move to capture London readers and advertisers.

Last month, News International closed the third afternoon paper, called “The London Paper”, saying it did not represent the values of its core business.

Papers join forces with Bloomberg

October 13, 2009

LEADING financial services information provider Bloomberg has put two major American newspapers on to its live wire feeds.

News from the New York Times and Washington Post will be posted on the Bloomberg wire as journalists filed to their respective newspapers and digital properties.

For the Washington Post, the announcement came only a day after it said it was ending a long-time news service relationship with the Los Angeles Times – a service that Fairfax newspapers has utilised.

The Post said it would establish its own independent news service from next January. In a statement, it promised a daily selection of 120 articles and photographs.

Emulating the current relationship between The Australian and the Wall Street Journal, the Post will also combine with Bloomberg to create a daily business page.

This is an interesting move given that the Post earlier this year closed its standalone business section, citing that business events should and would fit easily within the news section of the newspaper.

Times urge to search Twitter

October 13, 2009

THE New York Times is developing search engines to mine Twitter for commentary on specific issues.

According to Editor and Publisher journal, the Times has built such a product for its fashion blog “The Moment”, which collects commentary from editors and readers.

The Moment had over 1.3 million followers at the time of writing, apparently in part due to its development of Twitter search tools.

Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president of digital operations at the New York Times Company was quoted as saying: “If you go out and search Twitter, it doesn’t work very well.”

“It’s very literal,” he said, adding that if the Times can build multiple search products for Twitter that better understand context, there “is a lot of power in organizing and curating this world”.

Based on the success with The Moment, the Times is reportedly looking into building similar Twitter aggregators for many other categories.

Podcast: Leader newspapers re-design

October 12, 2009

Leader community newspapers recently re-designed all 33 of its titles. Richard McGuire from Leader Newspapers, and member of PANPA’s Technical Advisory Group, speaks with Nick Richardson, the group news editor at Leader Community Newspapers in Melbourne about the motives and aims behind the re-design.

Click here for audio