There will eventually come a day when The New York Times ceases to publish stories on newsprint. Exactly when that day will be is a matter of debate. "Sometime in the future, date TBD," the paper's publisher said back in 2010.
Nostalgia for ink on paper and the rustle of pages aside, there's plenty of incentive to ditch print. The infrastructure required to make a physical newspaper—printing presses, delivery trucks—isn't just expensive, it's exorbitant at a time when online-only competitors don't have the same set of financial constraints. Readers are migrating away from print anyway. And though print ad sales continue to dwarf their online and mobile counterparts, revenue from print is still declining.
A quick look at some key numbers for context: The Times' weekday circulation had fallen to about 649,000 at last count, according to SEC filings, while Sunday circulation was down to 1.2 million people. (Throughout the 1990s, weekday circulation was always above 1 million. In 1991, Sunday circulation approached 1.8 million.)
Overhead may be high and circulation may be lower, but rushing to eliminate the print edition of The New York Times would be a mistake, says BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti.