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Can the NY Times Survive? Mobile Adaptation is the Key

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Each print edition of the New York Times has the motto “All the News That’s Fit to Print” at the top of the page, but according to the latest earnings report, it may want to update its motto to “All the News Fits into Your Phone.”

 

If you follow the money, the takeaway is that our great institutions are challenged by – and finding ways to adapt to – the mobile era that we’re in now. And that includes the market research industry, where the question is shifting from “should we use mobile studies?” to “what’s the best approach to mobile studies?” Key 3rd quarter results tell how the New York Times is adapting – and starting to reap particularly promising rewards in the mobile realm:

  • Digital advertising grew 21%, but Times executives announced that revenue from “traditional” display ads for desktop was “weak.”
  • Mobile stepped into the gap left by the decline of desktop as mobile ad revenue “continued to grow at a rapid rate,” and now represents 24% of all digital ad income.
  • The Times ended the quarter with 1.56 million digital subscribers, up 30% over a year ago.
  • Revenue from digital circulation (readers’ subscription fees) rose 15.4% for the quarter, while revenue from print circulation fell 1%.
  • Print advertising revenue fell 19%, continuing the downslide that has dogged newspapers for years, placing them on the endangered media species list.

But as the Times’ commitment shows, there’s hope in transformative mobile adaptation.