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New York Times CEO: Print Journalism Has Maybe Another 10 Years (cnbc.com) 208

New York Times CEO Mark Thompson believes that the newspaper printing presses may have another decade of life in them, but not much more. "I believe at least 10 years is what we can see in the U.S. for our print products," Thompson said on "Power Lunch." He said he'd like to have the print edition "survive and thrive as long as it can," but admitted it might face an expiration date. "We'll decide that simply on economics," he said. "There may come a point when the economics of [the print paper] no longer make sense for us. The key thing for us is that we're pivoting. Our plan is to go on serving our loyal print subscribers as long as we can. But meanwhile to build up the digital business, so that we have a successful growing company and a successful news operation long after print is gone." CNBC reports: Digital subscriptions, in fact, may be what's keeping the New York Times afloat for a new generation of readers. While Thompson said the number of print subscribers is relatively constant, "with a little bit of a decline every time," the company said last week that it added 157,000 digital subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2017. The majority were new subscribers, but that number also included cooking and crossword subscriptions. Revenue from digital subscriptions increased more than 51 percent in the quarter compared with a year earlier. Overall subscription revenue increased 19.2 percent. Meanwhile, the company's fourth-quarter earnings and revenue beat analysts expectations, "even though the print side of the business is still somewhat challenged," Thompson said. Total revenue rose 10 percent from a year earlier to $484.1 million. New York Times' shares have risen more than 20 percent this year. "Without question we make more money on a print subscriber," Thompson added. "But the point about digital is that we believe we can grow many, many more of them. We've already got more digital than print subscribers. Digital is growing very rapidly. Ultimately, there will be many times the number of digital subscribers compared to print."
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New York Times CEO: Print Journalism Has Maybe Another 10 Years

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  • by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2018 @10:19PM (#56119783)
    and here we are.
    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @04:50AM (#56120763) Homepage Journal

      Vinyl is dead. The technology hasn't advanced since we learned how to read a record with a laser, and that was ages ago. Records aren't improving, and record players aren't improving. Vinyl is dead as a doornail. That DJs and hipsters still consume it doesn't change that; nobody else is interested, and even DJs are using it less and less.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Vinyl is dead. The technology hasn't advanced since we learned how to read a record with a laser, and that was ages ago. Records aren't improving, and record players aren't improving. Vinyl is dead as a doornail. That DJs and hipsters still consume it doesn't change that; nobody else is interested, and even DJs are using it less and less.

        This, and it's less about the tech and more about the fact that it's just a bunch of hipsters talking nonsense keeping it from being completely dead. There is no discernible difference in quality between vinyl and digital, the standard histories are fabrications.

        There is a discernible increase in quality for from the 60's, 70's and 80's... but that was because it was before the age of Autotune.

    • Yep, vinyl is dead. However, there is a new material that is quieter and delivers better sound. Don't remember what it is. Maybe a /. reader can update with the name of the material.
  • by oldgraybeard ( 2939809 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2018 @10:24PM (#56119811)
    I have had any newspaper/magazine subscriptions. There was a time I had 2 newspaper subscriptions and 6+ magazine subscriptions.

    Maybe if the print media kept a more just the news stance and made even a small attempt to keep opinions in the editorial sections they might be doing better.

    Just my 2 cents ;)
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      What the kind of bullshit is that? You could, and still can, get all kinds of print publications. That's like saying, "I'd like cars, if there were still ones that weren't red." I read science magazines, art magazines, news magazines, and all kinds of stuff. If you can't find any that aren't opinionated, then you've got your head up your own ass.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I like print magazines with long, in depth articles and tutorials. Unfortunately there are very few remaining that have anything like that any more.

        There is value in that kind of magazine/book. The internet is great but unless you pay someone to write something comprehensive and have it reviewed and corrected then you are going to have to rely on crap like Stack Exchange and the half baked answers post on there.

        Prime example, show me a good alternative to books/magazines for learning DSP coding or FPGA deve

        • I like print magazines with long, in depth articles and tutorials. Unfortunately there are very few remaining that have anything like that any more.

          Nope. Now they're just vehicles for advertisements. The average magazine is around 50% ads or more, even if you don't count articles which are really just advertisements in disguise.

          • I'm waiting for someone to say they get a magazine just for the ads like watching the Super Bowl for the ads! The true connoisseurs of advertisement.

    • I subscribe to the print edition of the LA Times. I also get several car and motorcycle magazines and can read them in bed or when I go to the mountains or desert. My town has recycling so the paper is used again.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Completely unrealistic. Print news is done because of the end user being able to digitally tailor their news. For print to compete, it would need to be say something like 10,000 pages and the customer buys it and then bins the 9,900 pages they are not interested in to read the 100 pages they are interested in. Quite simply digital media offers the end user news from multiple sites hundreds of sites that a user generally accesses in varying degrees, which they cherry pick their news from. The biggest problem

    • by No Longer an AC ( 4611353 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @07:33AM (#56120991) Journal

      For me it's been about 20 years since I had a newspaper delivered to my doorstep.

      I wasn't dissatisfied with the reporting or any bias in the paper, I had just moved on and got all the news I wanted from the internet (and admittedly TV). Newspapers were stacking up in my apartment waiting to be taken to the recycling center.

      I used to spend Sunday afternoons flipping through every page of the newspaper while watching NFL games. Now I don't get a paper and I don't watch football. You might say I've changed as well.

      When I stopped subscribing to the local paper I got so many calls from them trying to get me to resubscribe that I finally called up their
      "newstips" number and told them about a newspaper who was violating the do-not-call registry. Then the calls stopped.

      One interesting side effect of not getting the local paper is I'm probably more aware of what's happening in Syria than I am with what's happening locally. That doesn't mean I'm more knowledgeable about international affairs. Instead I'm probably just more ignorant of what's going on in the place where I live.

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      Maybe if the print media kept a more just the news stance and made even a small attempt to keep opinions in the editorial sections they might be doing better.

      That problem has nothing to do with the success or failure of the physical print side of the newspaper (which is what this story is about), as the same words are on the web site.

  • Optimism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday February 13, 2018 @10:25PM (#56119817) Homepage

    Given what passes for "journalism", that might be a bit of an optimistic assessment.

    • Given what passes for "journalism", that might be a bit of an optimistic assessment.

      I think the biggest problem with journalism is that there are actually too many choices. There's great investigative journalism out there, probably more than at any time in history, but there's also a boatload of crap. It's easy to monetize crap. It's difficult to monetize great investigative journalism. It's more expensive to produce and attracts less eyeballs. Most people who complain about the state of journalism are the same people who consume the crap. If you want to read good journalism, all you have

      • It's true. It's much easier to read the click-bait 3 sentence article than to read an in-depth 10-page investigative piece.

        And worse still, the lengthy article may cause you to think hard about stuff - maybe even look up a word in the dictionary. One of the main features of what used to be a major city's newspaper is now just a link to "Hilarious Memes about..." and it's a different thing every few days - and none of them are actually hilarious.

        So they must be employing someone to scrape memes from Redd

  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2018 @10:32PM (#56119841)

    ... to supply me with quality crossword puzzles each week.

  • Sadly true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jwest ( 21646 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2018 @10:36PM (#56119853)

    I commute into a major US city every day and just today noticed someone reading an actual newspaper on the train. I can't even remember when the last time I saw that. Between me with my book and him with his newspaper, we really stood out among the rest of the passengers. If newspapers and books aren't for commuters, who are they for? And commuters have left them by. Sadly, I think this is an accurate assessment..

    • by idji ( 984038 )
      Vienna has TWO free newspapers in the commuter trains and they are read by many passengers every day.
    • And I'd agree with you, except on the metro, I see it littered with newspapers every time I ride it. The catch? They're not the "big name" city newspapers. What you see more of in print are the small, regional papers that get handed out free and survive on advertising dollars.

      That's really where I see print media having more staying power. If you're a local publication that just wants to inform people about what local bands are playing where, covering some news items of local/regional interest that will nev

  • Newspapers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by youngone ( 975102 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2018 @10:46PM (#56119891)
    Where I live I can't see printed newspapers surviving another 10 years, but it is because of the awful quality.
    There are two newspaper groups nationally, and they attempted to merge with each other last year. Thankfully the regulator told them they were dreaming.
    Their real problems are the fact that they have no idea who their audience is any more. They print an endless parade of celebrity tittle-tattle and no world news to speak of. Their opinion pieces are all written by 25 year-old who who know fuck-all about anything because they got rid of anyone with any real experience years ago.
    Even the standard of the photography is rubbish now, because they laid off all the photographers.
    The idiot managers do however wonder why no-one wants to pay for their product.
    • by ttsai ( 135075 )

      Where I live I can't see printed newspapers surviving another 10 years, but it is because of the awful quality.

      Even if this decline in quality is true, why would this bode poorly for only printed media? Does journalistic quality improve if the same articles are shown on a screen instead of printed? Or do the incompetent writers insist on paper-only distribution and refuse to allow their words to be shown digitally? None of that makes any sense. The difference between print and screen is the revenue model of different advertising media. It has nothing to do with the quality of articles because the exact same art

      • by nasch ( 598556 )

        I'm guessing several commenters read the headline and commented without reading the summary, or somehow read the summary and still came away thinking "print" in this context means written words. Several people have made comments to the effect of "if the newspapers didn't suck so much they wouldn't be in trouble", which as you say makes no sense in the context of this story.

    • Their real problems are the fact that they have no idea who their audience is any more. They print an endless parade of celebrity tittle-tattle and no world news to speak of. Their opinion pieces are all written by 25 year-old who who know fuck-all about anything because they got rid of anyone with any real experience years ago.

      They know exactly who their market is: superannuated morons who are confused by computers. Everyone else is getting their news via the internet now, and it's actually superior to print media because you can rapidly get a cross-section of views on a subject instead of simply shoveling whatever the newspaper chooses to put on your plate into your information-hungry maw.

      The idiot managers do however wonder why no-one wants to pay for their product.

      They know well that it is because their product is inferior, but as long as people are paying for an inferior product, they will continue to p

    • Here in London, we have one freesheet paper in the morning (the metro), and another in the evening (Evening Standard), and the tube (underground railway) is full of people reading them. This might change in 3 years, when the tube finally gets wifi, but not till then.
  • by e**(i pi)-1 ( 462311 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2018 @11:34PM (#56120055) Homepage Journal
    One problem with digital subscription as well as with news apps is the constantly analysis, tracking, measurements which might occur. Which article did the customer read, how long, when, from where, during work time? In the future, news might be delivered individually, maybe even adapted to the individual user, like in facebook. What prevents me from signing up often is not so much the pay but the realization that you essentially read the news while becoming part of big data, there are mostly machines which analyze you but still, you are categorized and mined, and your data possibly sold to advertisers. I could imagine that a relatively cheap subscription version which guarantees: "we don't track you, we don't analyze and sell your metrics to anybody" could have a larger success. Maybe it is here where micro payments or crypto currencies could be useful. You pay anonymously and get the newspaper, nobody looks over your shoulder and you don't get special adds because of what your interests might have appeared to be. Or worse, that you would get a version of the news paper which is adapted to you. An other problem with subscription versions is that they sign you up very cheaply, then increase the prize constantly. This happened also with print subscriptions. A simple payment scheme would be relaxing, like "you pay 10 cents and can read the news for a day" and this prize applies to anybody, as it used to be when the papers were sold in the stores.
  • Subscription fatigue (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @12:49AM (#56120285)

    I wouldn't mind paying someone like Amazon or Google $10/month for access to every meaningful newspaper in America (with Google dividing it up among the papers I read that month), but I refuse to get sucked into a half-dozen monthly subscriptions... especially when seemingly all of them are "pay {some reasonable} rate for the first {n} weeks, then {get ass-raped} thereafter until you notice and cancel". I MIGHT do it if there were an option to automatically end the subscription once the promo rate expires, but over the past few years, I've gotten to the point where I automatically tell anyone trying to get me to sign up for teaser rates that silently go up to just go fuck themselves and die. I fell for subscription scams like that all the time when I was younger, but now it just seems like total bullshit and I refuse to put up with it anymore.

    • Agreed. I don't know why the assholes at newspapers looked at the billing model for Comcast and said, "That's what customers want!."

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I wouldn't mind paying someone like Amazon or Google $10/month for access to every meaningful newspaper in America (with Google dividing it up among the papers I read that month)

      Papers make most of their money from advertising, same with magazines. Advertising revenues for online sites just dont make as much and aren't as effective.

      Of course advertising is why I haven't picked up a paper in decades.

      The entire industry needs to change, right now Murdoch cant stop complaining about the ABC (Australia) or BBC stealing his business by providing well written articles based on facts whilst his publishing empire goes down the toilet. I reckon in 20 years all we'll have left are the

  • How much of the revenue increase at NYT was black money from USIC? Gotta keep that semi-official propaganda factory humming!

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @01:58AM (#56120457)
    Newsprint world wide takes about 1 Billion trees per year. That would greatly improve sustainability of the environment to reduce paper demands. Though newsprint is low quality, so a good place to put recycled paper, and is made from fast growing crap trees, rather than the slower growing hardwoods. So deforestation may not be as greatly affected as one would hope. Unless the replanted forests are planted with hardwoods, as they'll have longer to grow.
    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      Furthermore, have you ever been near a paper factory? It stinks up half the town.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Didn't notice that the last time I was near one. Though when in Idaho, a dairy farm can be smelled for miles. But outside the US, I've been on dairy farms, and smelled nothing. So it may be local regulations.
        • It could be the wind too. I used to work near feed lots for cattle - not right next door but close enough and most days I couldn't smell a thing but on others it stunk bad.

          One of the executives there told us it was the smell of money. It just smelled like cow shit to me. Maybe that was his point.

    • Careful there - you may create a market for snobs who demand that their copy of the New York Times be printed on mahogany pulp.

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      Newsprint world wide takes about 1 Billion trees per year. That would greatly improve sustainability of the environment to reduce paper demands.

      Not really; almost all of those trees were grown specifically to be made into paper. Reduce the demand for paper, and you reduce the number of trees. Whether that would be good or bad depends on what would be done with that land instead of growing trees.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Much of the land can't be used for much else. So plant hardwoods, and give them longer to grow, which would slow the deforestation, where hardwoods are cut down for wood, and replaced with soft woods, which grow faster. Very little deforestation is done for farmland anymore (Mainly South America at this point).

        So yes, less demand on soft woods would lower the total deforestation, and lead to more trees in the world.
  • Just get every browser to mine cryptocurrency for the brand in the place of third party malware ads.
    A per session use of the users CPU to mine cryptocurrency to grant access to the story.
  • It's a shame too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @04:01AM (#56120691)
    One of the benefits of printed news is its permanence. You find a newspaper clipping from April 15, 1865 and you know that's what the people back then read.

    The news I read on websites is often updated, edited, and re-edited to delete a controversial phrase, erase speculation which turned out to be mistaken, or add information which wasn't there in the original report (without updating the timestamp). You read a bunch of people complaining about the article, go read the source article for yourself, and because the statement was edited out you don't know what the fuss is all about and you think the people complaining are idiots. Likewise, whereas before if a newspaper published something which was later discredited, they'd print a retraction but the original evidence of their shoddy reporting was still out there. Nowadays they simply delete the discredited story, erasing their failure from history. Occasionally I link to newspaper articles from the 1990s, but I honestly have no idea if it's still true to the original or if it's been altered in the intervening quarter century. Archive.org used to help, but I'm increasingly finding more sites have set their robots.txt to not allow archiving. And perhaps more disturbingly, some sites have requested archive.org delete the entire archived history of their site.

    Despite the explosion in the availability of information, historians of the future are going to have a bitch of a time figuring out what we were actually saying and thinking, because a lot of the evidence is being scrubbed, sanitized, or deleted. It's the digital equivalent of burning books, except it's all being done silently and out of sight. The only evidence being a broken link; or a "quote" in a forum posting which no longer matches the purported source, and you have no idea if the post is in error or if the source was edited.
    • Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past

      George Orwell, 1984

      One of the issues raised in 1984 is the idea that history is mutable or changeable, that truth is what the Party deems it to be, and that the truths found in history are the bases of the principles of the future. Some Fascist German leaders of the time boasted that if you tell a lie loud enough and often enough, people will accept it as truth. The Stalinists perfected this modus operandi by re-writing people and events in and out of history or distorting historical facts to suit the

    • by Terwin ( 412356 )

      Despite the explosion in the availability of information, historians of the future are going to have a bitch of a time figuring out what we were actually saying and thinking, because a lot of the evidence is being scrubbed, sanitized, or deleted. It's the digital equivalent of burning books, except it's all being done silently and out of sight. The only evidence being a broken link; or a "quote" in a forum posting which no longer matches the purported source, and you have no idea if the post is in error or if the source was edited.

      Fortunately for future historians, Facebook and other social media have enough people spewing their opinions and reactions that even if Facebook was not keeping a permanent record of everything, there would still be abundant data available to them.

      The only down side is that people who spew everything online and never bother to go back and fix their mistakes will probably be taken as representative of the rest of us...

    • > more sites have set their robots.txt to not allow archiving.

      robots.txt is only a suggestion. Nobody is obligated to obey it.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • I'll believe printed journalism is dead when the Paperless Office and IPv6 become more than a kitschy theme song.

    Been hearing about that shit for the last two decades, and the overwhelming majority of business still runs on IPv4 and holds on to their beloved multi-function paper killing machines.

  • Reading a daily paper used to be one of the highlights of my day. Especially if I had plenty of time in the morning and could relax with the paper and a cup of tea. Bliss.

    I read the same publication online every day but the experience is diminished.

  • Once Google gets done AMPing up email and so on,paper news will make a comeback because there is no way to embed trackers and "engaging" content in it. Then it will die again when they start using "interactive" paper.
  • ... how long until we can get rid of the twice-monthly collection of super-saver ads, wrapped in a 1/2 page "article" so it can be legally litter^H^H^H^H^H^Hthrown onto my property? Because that thing is strictly waste from beginning to end -- from the paper and ink, to the power needed to print it, to the guys who drive around throwing them out their windows, to the trucks that carry them back to the recycling center (it goes straight from my driveway to the recycle bin), which then processes it. Oh yeah,

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