New York Times to Cut 100 Jobs, Shutter Opinion App

Newsroom Will Shoulder Most of the Reductions

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The New York Times is shuttering its NYT Opinion app.
The New York Times is shuttering its NYT Opinion app.

New York Times Co. plans to cut jobs across the company, including about 100 positions in the newsroom, to help boost long-term profitability as digital businesses have struggled to make up for the declines in print.

The publisher disclosed plans for the buyouts and layoffs in a regulatory filing Wednesday, saying the reductions "are necessary to control our costs and to allow us to continue to invest in the digital future of The New York Times."

In a memo to the newsroom, Executive Editor Dean Baquet said there will be forced layoffs if 100 newsroom jobs can't be eliminated through voluntary buyouts. In a story on its website, the Times reported that it amounts to about 7.5% of the newsroom staff. A smaller number of positions will be reduced on the business side, according to Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the company.

The Times' efforts to transform itself into a digital newsroom with specialized stories and online subscription packages has so far not been enough to make up for the ongoing decline in its print business. Both print advertising and print circulation fell in the second quarter, overshadowing the gains in the Times' digital business where ad rates are far cheaper than in print.

"We 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," Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger and Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson said in a note to employees that was disclosed in the filing.

Shuttering Apps

The shares rose 5.2% to $11.80 at 10:14 a.m. in New York, the biggest intraday gain since February. The stock had declined 29% this year through yesterday.

The company said today that it's expecting profit to fall again in the third quarter and for the full year as operating costs rise.

To help drive growth, the company plans to invest heavily in areas such as mobile, audience development and advertising. That means that departments like digital technology and core products will be excluded from the staff reductions, according to the filing.

The Times is also eliminating some products in the wake of smaller-than-expected audiences on some of its new apps. It's shuttering the NYT Opinion app and taking its cheaper, more limited NYT Now offering off the Web but keeping it as a smartphone-only app.

Messrs. Sulzberger and Thompson disclosed that more than 40,000 net new digital subscribers were added in the third quarter, the most since 2012. They said that more core subscribers and international customers will help circulation revenue rise in the period, while native advertising and mobile growth will help lead to a 16% gain in digital advertising revenue.

~Bloomberg News~

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