The New York Times Co has recorded the slowest decline in revenues in 10 years, driven by a surge in digital revenues and subscriptions which helped offset the decline in print revenues.
Advertising revenue for the year dropped 0.7 per cent to $US662.3 million, the smallest decline since 2005, as a 4.7 per cent slide in print advertising was offset by an 11.8 per cent increase in digital advertising , according to Dow Jones, with a jump of 19 per cent for the fourth quarter. Around 10 per cent of the digital revenue was from the company’s branded content division.
Digital subscriptions jumped by 20 per cent to 910,000 at the end of the year.
The increase in digital ad revenue to $182 million in 2014 partly offset declines in print revenues. It was the best result since 2005, according to New York Times chief executive Mark Thompson.
Mr Thompson attributed part of a drop in profit to digital investments, including the apps NYTNow and NYT Opinion which failed to generate solid revenue, and costs incurred from a round of redundancies.
However, other sources of revenue, including events, could bolster the company’s earnings for 2015, he said, with a 10 per cent rise in the last quarter 2014 and a new partnership with Women in the World conferences announced this year.
Ending comments a mistake: Guardian digital chief
The Guardian’s executive editor for digital, Aron Pilhofer, has described disabling comments on news websites as “a monumental mistake”.
Reuters and Bloomberg are two sites that have led a trend towards shutting down feedback from readers on articles.
Speaking at the News:Rewired conference in London this week, Mr Pilhofer said reader interaction was possibly the most important area currently being ignored by traditional newsrooms.
“I feel very strongly that digital journalism needs to be a conversation with readers.
“You see site after site killing comments and moving away from community – that’s a monumental mistake.
“Readers need and deserve a voice. They should be a core part of your journalism.”
The Guardian has experimented heavily with “open journalism”, using crowdsourcing from readers to assist editorial projects such as Guardian Witness, a hub created for user-generated content. “It’s a huge resource we are largely ignoring,” Mr Pilhofer said of the industry.
He emphasised the importance of co-operation across whole newsrooms.
“When you talk about digital transformation a lot of the time it ends up becoming, unfortunately, sometimes a divisive topic. It becomes print versus digital and that’s nonsense. We are all in this together.”
Snapchat launches Discover news tool
Snapchat has partnered with 10 media companies including Vice, Daily Mail, Yahoo! and CNN to launch a tool that allows users to swipe through news updates.
Called Discover, the tool within the app presents daily editions from each publisher that feature videos and articles curated by editorial staff. To traditional media, it could represent an opportunity to snag young audiences who can view the bite-size content alongside snaps from their friends.
Former CNN head of digital KC Estenson told Digiday: “Snapchat is on to something that will be incredibly meaningful for its audience and super helpful for reaching people who aren’t consuming content on TV, newspapers and magazines.”
The updates will not disappear after 10 seconds like the app’s original photo/video messaging function.
The content will eventually feature advertising with media partners to share in the revenue, while Snapchat is also looking to produce its own original content.
Snapchat launched in 2009 and is now valued at US$10 billion.