Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman, The New York Times Company and Publisher, The New York Times, is confident in the economic potential of interactive media, particularly for The New York Times Company. Sulzberger conveyed his optimism for new media journalism during a Q & A in New York City this evening. Sulzberger was questioned by Rafat Ali, Publisher & Editor, paidContent.org, at the site's first NYC mixer, held at the W Hotel in Manhattan.
Prior to his interview, I chatted with Sulzberger about The New York Times article this past weekend, Richard Siklos’ essay on how traditional media companies are “Waiting for the Dough on the Web.” Sulzberger expressed his personal enthusiasm for the online opportunity and shrugged off Siklos’ take as “individual editorial prerogative.” I agreed with Sulzberger’s optimism and indicated I would e-mail him my commentary on Siklos’ article, “The New York Times: Searching for “dough” offline.” I mentioned, however, he might not wish to be reminded of the NYT stock chart, which I included in my post (actually obtained from The New York Times’ own investor relations Web site). I offered, however, that the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, has not been well received by Wall Street of late either.
Ali questioned Sulzberger about the economics of The New York Times’ online operations. Sulzberger began with news gathering statistics: The New York Times employs 1200 people in its newsroom and supports a $200 million annual “news gathering” budget. Sulzberger immediately added, as digital has brought in $200 million in annual revenue, interactive can support our news gathering function.
Ali then asked about TimesSelect, launched last year. Sulzberger indicated “Select” represents $6 million in subscription revenue, with 500,000 registered users. Sulzberger noted, however, that 98% of The New York Times daily content is available at no charge online. Sulzberger intimated, however, that possible fees for premium Boston Globe online content are being evaluated.
Ali asked Sulzberger to reflect on how the online news cycle differs from print operations. Sulzberger replied, “online, a scoop is a question of nanoseconds.”