Given the knee-buckling 19% drop in print ad revenue at the New York Times last quarter, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of open space in the newspaper these days.
And the Times is filling that open space with . . . itself.
As the hardworking staff noted last month, “the New York Times is searching hither and yon for new revenue sources, including the Times Journeys travel agency, the Times Store retail outlet, and New York Times Conferences, which brings together the international chinstrokerati ‘to deepen understanding of vital topics, advance innovative solutions to major challenges and provide new opportunities for businesses.'”
Well, that’s not even the half of it.
Here’s a sampling of house ads the Times ran last weekend, a mix of advertising for Times editorial content and Times revenue-generating content.
Let’s start with Saturday’s edition. Here’s an ad for a new Times video series called The Art of Better that “reveals the secrets and science behind productivity.”
What the ad doesn’t tell you (although the website sort of does) is that the series is branded content – aka marketing material – sponsored by payroll services giant ADP. Here’s what’s at the top of the homepage:
T Brand Studio, of course, is the Times in-house native advertising shop, which is slowly turning into a full-service ad agency, as this Wall Street Journal piece notes.
By the way, the Times website also makes no mention of the series being sponsored content.
Paging Liz Spayd . . . paging Public Editor Liz Spayd.
Up next on Saturday was this ad touting the next day’s Times Magazine.
Then there were these two ads for Times chotchkes
Okay, so that was Saturday. Let’s move on to Sunday’s edition, which was even more action-packed, starting with this ad for the New Work Summit, “a new kind of conference that brings together a collection of brilliant minds — from top C.E.O.s to neuroscientists, from tech stars to organizational psychologists and other experts — to share research, insights and strategies for building the teams of the future.”
You’ll find the agenda and speakers from last’s year’s shindig here. You’ll also find that the two-day conference (at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, CA) costs $4000 per person.
And, of course, there are sponsorship opportunities:
Align your brand with influential consumers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries through high-impact integrations. Host delegates at private cocktail or dinner receptions, conduct on-site polling, develop custom content, display product and amplify your sponsorship through on-site branding and extensive print, digital and social media promotion.
Or you could just run an ad in the Times Magazine, as this ad on Sunday urged.
Not for you? Then how about some virtual reality videos, compliments of the Times and Samsung.
Too modern? Maybe buy this book from the Times store instead.
Here’s something novel: Using newspaper real estate to sell the newspaper’s real estate.
And one last ad for Times bric-a-brac.
Not to mention the additional four-page Times Store insert and the four-page New York Times Wine Club insert – neither of which was included in the Times Replica edition of Sunday’s paper.
But clearly all of that is not enough in revenue-generating terms, because a letter poured into the Worldwide Headquarters last week informing us that our home subscription has now gone up to $19.50 per week, or $1014 per annum. (Just for scale, digital subscriptions go for $10 to $15 a month.)
This circulation hike is part of a trend, as Seeking Alpha noted last week.
In 2015 circulation revenues made up over 50% of total revenues at the New York Times (NYSE:NYT), while less than 10 years ago it was only 25%. 2016 may finish with circulation revenues at around 60% of total revenues.
Memo to the Times: There’s a limit to how much you can soak your print readers. And, not for nothing, we won’t be around forever.
Meanwhile, we kind of like that Man Ray print at lower left of the Times Store ad.