The New York Times Company reported earnings today, and while advertising revenues were down six percent from a year ago, it was good enough for CEO Mark Thompson to call it “the best quarterly performance in more than three years.”
That’s sort of a Pyrrhic victory, since ad revenues are still going south, but at least it’s not in double digits as has been the case for most of the last five years.
While the Times isn’t facing the same cash crunch it did a few years ago, it has managed to survive largely by selling off assets, including its headquarters building, and is now a pure play on the newspaper industry.
Even though advertising revenue isn’t decreasing as much as it has in the past, there is no sign of real improvement any time soon. That will continue to put pressure on the company to find other sources of revenue.
Currently, digital subscription revenue has helped offset the ad revenue decline, but growth is slowing in this area as well.
The Times is trying to find new sources of revenue, with mixed results, as their expertise is in reporting the news and not hosting events or producing videos, and the like. But unless they can find a billionaire like Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffet, who can afford to invest heavily in the company without regard to profits, the future of the Times will remain cloudy at best, as the digital revolution continues to eat away at its core business.