On the heels of reporting first-quarter results, the New York Times Co. announced a series of strategic initiatives to spur revenue growth that will begin to be rolled out in the fourth quarter.
Total revenue decreased 2.0% to $465.9 million in the first quarter from $475.4 million in the first quarter of 2012. Circulation revenue increased 6.5%, while advertising revenue dropped 11.2% and other revenue dipped 0.7%. Excluding depreciation, amortization and severance, operating profit in the quarter rose 3.3%, to $49.6 million from $48.0 million in the first quarter of 2012.
“During the first quarter, we took a number of decisive steps to reposition the company for the evolving media landscape,” said Mark Thompson, president-CEO, in a statement. “We announced that we were marketing for sale the New England Media Group and that later this year we will rebrand the International Herald Tribune as the International New York Times,” he added. “We will be rolling out other strategic initiatives designed to further leverage the Times brand and newsroom.”
The company spelled out several key initiatives in a separate release. These include “the next phase in the Times' digital subscription/paid products strategy, an international expansion under the new unified brand and a renewed emphasis on both video production and brand extensions,” the company said.
Several new products are under development at price points lower than all-digital-access and print subscriptions, including one that would allow convenient access to “the Times' most important and interesting stories” and another that would offer “deep access and additional content,” the company said.
An enhanced tier at a higher price point would offer extras such as access to Times events and the ability to provide full-family access, among other incentives.
To grow international subscriptions, the company plans to invest in international marketing, and in pricing and payment methods to localize the purchase process and make it easier for international readers to subscribe.
Another strategic initiative, still in the early stages, is the development of a more robust and comprehensive video presence.