During a talk at the International Newsroom Summit held in London, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. admitted that “we will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future,” but, said Sulzberger, that date is “TBD.”
Business Insider has said for a while that this is the way the Times must go. Henry Blodget called Sulzberger’s statement a concession and wrote that while Sulzberger’s statement “sounds obvious,” it’s actually a “big deal.” Later in his post, Blodget elaborated:
We estimate that the NYT currently spends about $200 million a year on its newsroom and generates about $150 million of online revenue. If the paywall is highly successful–attracting, say, 1 million subscribers who pay $100 a year–this will add another $100 million of online subscription revenue (assuming the company doesn’t lose ad revenue). With $250 million of revenue, the NYT might be able to sustain newsroom costs of about $100 million.
Without what Blodget calls “a Bloomberg-like sugar-daddy” to run the organization in the red, Business Insider is certain the NYT will have stop printing on paper and undergo a restructuring.
The Times still plans to implement its paywall in 2011. Sulzberger conceded details of how it will work are still in flux, but during the conference he also confirmed that the Times and Google are working together on something called First Click Free, which will keep the paper, in Sulzberger’s words, “part of the open web ecosystem.”
Sulzberger’s statement comes the same day the paper’s stock surged following rumors of a buyout.
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