Starting at the end of this year, the Times will roll out new subscription plans at different price points. Two cheaper subscription models will be offered: One with topic-based packages, ranging from food to politics, and another that compiles the newspaper’s most important coverage.
The latter package was earlier referred to as “NYT Junior,” Jeff Bercovici of Forbes pointed out, aimed to target what Eliza Kern nicknamed “Generation Mooch.” CEO Mark Thompson said research has shown the market for this type of subscription is “hundreds of thousands,” Capital New York reported.
The newspaper also plans to introduce a premium package that may include family-wide access, the ability to gift subscriptions and live events, according to a release. Tickets to one of such events, a “global forum” in San Francisco hosted by op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman, are $995 each, Bercovici noted.
The Times’ cheapest current digital package is $180 a year, including NYT.com and the smartphone app. Access to all digital products is $420 per year. Thompson did not provide details on the prices of the new subscription plans, paidContent reported.
“We want to deepen our relationship with our existing loyal customers, but we also want to use a wider family of New York Times products to reach new customers both here and around the world,” Thompson said. “The initiatives we are announcing today should be seen as a significant first step in our effort to put The New York Times Company on a path to sustainable growth.”
The Times also plans to introduce a line of branded products, though they aren’t expected to turn a major profit until late 2014, according to paidContent. NYT plans to expand into gaming and e-commerce, following the lead of Condé Nast, which now makes 10 percent of its revenue through supplemental ventures including restaurants, clothing lines, e-commerce, games and education.
The Times’ new strategy also includes an emphasis on video. Earlier this week the company moved videos from its paywall in an effort to increase clicks and therefore ad revenue. The company also hired the Huffington Post’s Rebecca Howard as general manager of video production in February to further its video initiatives.
The company plans to relaunch its website later this year (check out a prototype). As part of the relaunch, the company is in the process of reorganizing and cutting some of its blogs. Its environment blog was one of the first casualties, and Capital New York reported the Media Decoder blog is being reformatted to a one-stop media page.
In advance of the site’s relaunch, the company has assembled a data analysis team focused on how editorial content is consumed across platforms, Journalism.co.uk reported. The goal is to eventually be able to make editorial decisions driven by data when appropriate, said Aron Pilhofer, founding editor of the interactive news team.
Part of an objective to refocus the New York Times brand, the company hopes to sell New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, by the end of 2013, Capital New York reported. Times Co.’s announced the the Globe was up for sale in February, after shedding several regional newspapers and About.com over the past couple years. The NYT branding focus will extend to the renaming of The International Herald Tribune, which will take the nameplate The International New York Times in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The company’s net income dropped to $3.1 million at 2 cents per share in the first quarter from $42.1 million at 28 cents per share during the same period last year, Christine Haughney of the New York Times reported. Total revenue was down 2 percent, to $465.9 million, and income down from $8.7 million to $3.1 million.
The company emphasized that despite declines in profits, circulation revenue was up 6.5 percent, due both to more digital subscribers and increased print subscription prices, Haughney reported. But digital subscriptions seem to be slowing: The newspaper only gained 5.6 percent additional subscribers this quarter, reflecting its smallest increase since introducing its paywall in 2011, Quartz reported.
But the Times is optimistic about growth, expecting a surge of subscribers after the world edition is rebranded, Capital New York reported. The Times’ and International Herald Tribune had a combined 676,000 subscribers at the end of March.