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The New York Times Company

December 21, 2009

Name: The New York Times Company

Once synonymous with American journalism, the company, which owns the Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune, has struggled with the collapse of advertising in the newspaper industry. With more than 17 million unique Web visitors per month, it is experimenting with ways to make money online.

Stock Symbol: NYT
New York City
(212) 556 1234
Year Founded:
Number of Employees:
9,346 (as of December 28, 2008)

Executive Leadership:

President and CEO: Janet L. Robinson

Bio: Bachelors in English from Salve Regina College and a graduate from the Executive Education Program of Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School. Previously COO and executive vice president of the company, Robinson has also served as the president and general manager of The New York Times newspaper.

CIO: Joseph Seibert

Bio: Bachelors in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Formerly the COO of Marc Ecko Enterprises, a global apparel company, and before that the COO of Home Décor Products. He held various positions at CBS and Viacom from 1993 to 2002.

Board Members and Advisors:

Raul E. Cesan

Dawn G. Lepore

Daniel H. Cohen

David E. Liddle

Robert E. Denham

Ellen R. Marram

Lynn G. Dolnick

Thomas Middelhoff

Scott Galloway

Janet L. Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer

Michael Golden, Vice Chairman

Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman & Publisher

William E. Kennard

Doreen A. Toben

James Kohlberg


Total R&D spending: not disclosed

R&D as a percentage of revenues: not available


The Times Company’s Research & Development Group monitors the changing media and technology landscape to anticipate consumer preferences and devise ways of satisfying them. This has led to the development of new digital products across the Company and accelerated its entry into new platforms such as mobile devices. The R&D group operates as a shared service across the company’s divisions. According to company sources, the group focuses on creating new capabilities for the Company such as data mining and Web analytics. The company is trying to help advertisers by increasing its ability to target and optimize campaigns, as well as finding new ways to monetize digital content across all platforms, including the iPhone. The R&D group is working on the extending the company’s print newspapers onto new reading devices through alliances with companies such as Adobe Systems.


The Company is a diversified media company that currently includes newspapers, Internet businesses, a radio station, investments in paper mills and other investments. The Company’s media properties and investments compete for advertising and consumers with other media in their respective markets, including paid and free newspapers, Web sites, broadcast, satellite and cable television, broadcast and satellite radio, magazines, direct marketing and the Yellow Pages. Competition for advertising is generally based upon audience levels and demographics, price, service and advertising results, while competition for circulation and readership is generally based upon format, content, quality, service and price.

Currently, the combined daily circulation of the newspapers, including The New York Times, International Herald Tribune and the Boston Globe, is about 2.4 million. The audience reached via Internet offerings such as, and is about one magnitude larger, with estimates ranging between 17 and 25 million visitors per month. Furthermore, its other internet businesses, in particular, provide an additional estimated audience of just below 50 million visitors per month.


The New York Times’ strategy is to move from print to an increasingly digital focus that uses multiple platforms. There are four key elements of the strategy, beginning with the introduction of new products and services. The goal is to deliver high-quality journalism in ways that consumers can access it wherever and whenever they want it. Secondly, the company is strengthening its digital research and development capabilities to supports the development of new products and alliances. Thirdly, the company is trying to restructure its cost base, with significant expense reductions made over the course of the past several years. The last element of the New Tork Times strategy is to rebalance its portfolio of businesses through both acquisitions and divestitures. The focus right now is on selling assets that no longer fit well within the Company, particularly as it seeks to lower debt and improve liquidity.

In 2007, the company introduced new large size ad formats on its Web sites, which were well received by advertisers. At the beginning of 2008, it began offering front-page print ads at The New York Times and The Boston Globe,. The company continues to develop ways to generate other revenue streams for content. Subscriptions to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the International Herald Tribune on e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle are a small but growing revenue stream.

Challenges and Next Steps:

The New York Times Company faces substantial competition for advertisers in all businesses and declining circulation of paper editions. The Company has lowered its cost base in order to maintain adequate profit margins but there are still risks and uncertainties, according to the company’s annual report, with respect to costs, especially with regard to pension- related expenses, increases in the price of newsprint, and borrowing costs.

The proliferation of consumer digital media, mostly available at no cost, challenges the traditional media model, in which journalism has primarily been supported by print advertising revenues. If consumers fail to differentiate the The New York Times content from other content providers, on the Internet or otherwise, the company may experience a further decline in revenues. Its success therefore depends on its ability to monetize its reputation as a provider of quality journalism and content. The key challenge will be to maintain this quality while moving into digital businesses, with the right revenue model.

Compiled by René Reinsberg

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