Not dead yet: The Times shows that it has a pulse
Shortly after major media companies announced significant layoffs, The New York Times released its fourth quarterly report of 2018, exceeding expectations with a total of $709 million in revenue for the year of 2018.
Numbers indicate the company is close to reaching and potentially exceeding its goal of $800 million in revenue by 2020.
Advertising revenue from print newspapers dropped 6.5 percent, and print subscriptions increased by only 3.4 percent, The Times reported. The main reason for such a successful quarterly report was the addition of a total of 265,000 digital subscriptions.
The future of journalism in the digital world has progressively gotten bleaker each year. Because advertisements are the main source of revenue for print-based publications, many newspapers are struggling to transition from print to digital.
One of the most important factors in a publication's ability to adapt is the implementation of a paywall early in time, as CNBC reported.
The Times’ strategy to give readers a taste of quality journalism and then make them pay for it has also proven to be a significant factor in attracting digital subscribers.
Jeff Bezos took the same approach shortly after he bought The Washington Post in 2013. He imposed a paywall, explaining that good journalism has a high price.
“Once a NY Times exclusive becomes public it’s turned into a third-rate rehash ...and the Times sees not one dollar of ad revenue or any significant referral traffic from that,” said tech journalist Dan Tynan in an interview with Forbes.
While exclusives from The Times are a pivotal factor that have built the company’s reputation, many people cannot afford to pay for a subscription and choose to get the same news elsewhere.
Journalist Steve Key, who is part of the general council of Hoosier State Press Association, took part in a recent NPR panel discussion on the future of journalism.
Key touched on the way local newspapers are not getting support from the communities they serve while also dealing with a lack of print advertising revenue.
Many companies have found other ways to advertise their product through technology and no longer consider print newspapers as a top option.
The Times and other companies have proven that it is possible to adapt to unexpected changes, such as declining revenue and readership. But the paper does, however, have the advantage of being a known brand, which could only have helped it in the end.