This morning, the New York Times announced higher circulation revenue, huge gains in digital subscribers, and the continued erosion of its print advertising business. If the Times were interested in saving paper and man-hours, it could start by copy-pasting that paragraph into a PDF every quarter.
Every few months, the Times re-learns that readers like it more than last year, and advertisers like it less. Here's a look at the last 14 years of Times revenue. In 2000, circulation was 26 percent of the business. Last quarter, it made up 54 percent. Meanwhile, advertising has ... well, just look.
New York Times: Great Paper, Awful Business
A few conclusions to chew over:
1) Quantity and Quality. A scary graph of the Times' advertising revenue shouldn't be taken as a reflection of the quality of the newspapers' reporting. Quite the opposite, I can't think of a more consistently impressive or influential big journalism operation in the game. The decline in newspaper ad revenue is endemic and the Times has fared better than most of its peers. (The newspaper business is the worst advertising industry in America right now.) It's not a bad company. It's an impressive company—more than 800,000 want to pay for it online—in a terrible industry.