“All the news that’s fit to print” got more expensive over the winter holidays, with The New York Times’ decision to raise its weekday newsstand price 25% from $2.00 to $2.50. The move, coming just days after the New York Times Co. announced the sale of its Regional Media Group and the retirement of former CEO Janet Robinson, indicates NYTCO is trying to shore up falling revenues and flagging profitability as it enters the new year.
This is just the latest in a series of incremental price increases at the company’s flagship newspaper, which cost just $1.00 as recently as June 2007.
The rapid increase in the newsstand price is part of NYTCO’s push to offset steep declines in ad revenue by increasing circulation revenues -- a strategy which paid off for a few years, but now necessitates another price hike. The circulation revenue strategy is especially precarious given ongoing declines in overall newsstand sales; it is likely to be a short-term solution at best.
NYTCO’s total ad revenues have declined from $2.05 billion in 2007 to $1.3 billion in 2010. The company’s total circulation revenues increased from $890 million in 2007 to $910 million in 2008 and $936.5 million in 2009, before declining to $931.5 million in 2010. In the first nine months of 2011, circulation revenues were basically flat at $700 million.
For the flagship New York Times Media Group, circulation revenues have increased from $646 million in 2007 to $668 million in 2008, $683 million in 2009, then remained flat in 2010. In the first nine months of 2011, NYT Media Group circ revenues rose 1.6% to $522 million, thanks in part to new revenues from the company’s online subscription plan.
Over the last decade, the NYT’s average daily print circulation has declined from 1,113,000 in September 2002 to 770,586 in September 2011, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.