The New York Times Co. announced in a memo on Oct. 1 its plan to cut 100 newsroom jobs, and a small portion of its editorial and business operations through buyouts, or if need be, through layoffs in order to downsize and control its costs in the newsroom, as well as to capitalize on its recent venture into digital news.
The memo addressed to the Times staff from its publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, and Chief Executive Mark Thompson noted that they are “reducing the cost base of the company to safeguard the long-term profitability of The Times, not because of any short-term business difficulties.”
In fact, they cited the rate of digital subscriptions from new subscribers, which increased in its third quarter at a higher rate than the second quarter.
They also estimated that due to “growth in smartphone and video, and the energy and commitment of our advertising team, we expect digital advertising to show approximately 16% growth in the quarter, the best quarterly performance since 2010.”
Still, management said there were other areas they planned to prune. For one, the company will also close down a mobile application recently launched in June, originally meant to garner opinion content such as op-eds, blogs and editorials, dubbed NYT Opinion. The app had been unable to garner the caliber of audience needed to get it up and running successfully, the executives explained.
Though Thompson and Sulzberger sang praises for the success of the NYT Now app in reaching young readers, they said its lower subscription rate had yet again proven to be unprofitable. So instead, the company is looking to take on a different approach with the latest NYT Cooking product, which readers are currently subscribing to for free. “We learned this week that by the end of September, just two weeks after its official launch, the product had more than a million unique visitors – a stunning achievement which bodes very well for Cooking’s future success,’ they noted. The company plans to attract a bigger audience with the product before making it into a paid subscription.
To coincide with the memo released by the company’s head honchos, The Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet also sent a separate memo to the newsroom staff, reiterating the “financial conditions that are forcing us to make cuts across the company.” Baquet confirmed that the need to reduce costs in newsroom is due to the editorial products which have been less profitable over the years. The Times would continue to invest in digital technology as there were “promising signs in digital advertising, and digital subscriptions,” Baquet said.
According to The New York Times, which posted an article on the company’s plans to cut jobs, the cutback of 100 newsroom positions represent a loss of about 7.5 percent of its 1,330 employees.