Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is the End Near For All Print Newspapers?

By Matt Saler

I was pretty shocked to read the other day that The New York Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said the following words: “We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future.” He did not give a specific date to this inevitability but it begs the question… if the most read daily newspaper in the country goes strictly to digital, is it the beginning of the end for print newspapers as we know it?

Clearly, a lot of folks in the media industry were buzzing about this news, as many see digital as the present and future. If the majority of the revenue generated by the Times is from its online revenue, it only makes sense that this would be the direction that they would move toward. Business Insider blogger Henry Blogget conducted some interesting research on the topic and came up with the following numbers:

“We estimate that the NYT currently spends about $200 million a year on its newsroom and generates about $150 million of online revenue. If the paywall is highly successful—attracting, say, 1 million subscribers who pay $100 a year—this will add another $100 million of online subscription revenue (assuming the company doesn't lose ad revenue). With $250 million of revenue, the NYT might be able to sustain newsroom costs of about $100 million.

Now, a $100 million newsroom budget is a HUGE newsroom budget--one that most online publications would kill for. So the New York Times isn't going anywhere. But $100 million is also a lot less than the New York Times's current newsroom budget.

So if Arthur Sulzberger is right that the New York Times will eventually have to stop printing the print paper--and we certainly think he is--his company is likely to have to be restructured.”

As one who enjoys opening up a paper and reading through the news of the day, should I be worried that these days are quickly coming to an end? Stay tuned.

Matt Saler is a Senior Account Executive. He can be reached at

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