The New York Times Company has announced a $14 million loss, with a weak print advertising market and a change to pension settlements contributing factions. Encouragingly, digital subscriptions to the company’s flagship grew by almost 50,000.
The company said digital advertising grew substantially, lifting by 11 per cent, and the adjusted operating profit increased to $59 million from $57 million in the same quarter last year.
Total revenue decreased by 1.6 per cent to $384 million, despite a 20 per cent increase in digital subscribers to bring the total number to 957,000.
Times Company chief executive Mark Thompson told the newspaper: “We got off to a solid start in early 2015 as our company maintained its digital momentum.”
Washington Post tests new website concepts
The positive response to The Washington Post’s app on the Amazon Fire tablet has led it to test ways to bring its innovative design to the web.
Some mobile readers are being routed to a new version of the Post’s site when they click on a shared link.
“Based on the success of our new tablet app, we decided to experiment with different ways to carry that experience to the web,” the paper’s executive editor Martin Baron said in comments published in the Post.
The new design is visually striking, with huge images, bright colours and bold headline typefaces. One story takes up the entire page at a time, with sideways scrolling between different stories, and an inconspicuous navigation bar at the top of the page. It puts the content ahead of everything else.
Although the site is being offered to some viewers already, the existing website homepage is being redesigned at the same time and that will remain the primary site for the foreseeable future.
To see it, visit washingtonpost.com/rweb.
Editor of closed San Francisco paper turns to crowdfunding
The sudden closure of the popular alternative weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian last year left its former editor Steven Jones out of a job after 20 years in journalism.
Last month, he began publishing on a website called Byline, which connects writers with financial supporters. He told Poynter that 13 supporters are giving him $466 every month for his writing.
Poynter reports that Mr Jones has written about the displacement of San Francisco residents and a story about the decline of the San Francisco Bay Guardian for Byline so far.
Byline founder Daniel Tudor reportedly contacted Bay Guardian staff after the newspaper was wound down.
“I think the way the Guardian ended, and the struggles with the media world the last couple of years, I was open to trying something new,” Mr Jones said to Poynter.
Journalists who use Byline can choose to raise money for big, one-off projects, or they can receive monthly contributions for ongoing work. The former model is more similar to well-known Kickstarter, while the latter model is more like a traditional paid subscription.
There are around 20 journalists on Byline since it launched last month.
Facebook offers publishers all ad revenue
Publishers who partner with Facebook may be able to keep every dollar of revenue from advertising placed around their stories, as part of a new feature that hosts articles from third parties.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is keen to stop users leaving its network, and that publishers believe readers are put off by the time it takes external websites to load when they click out.
The new feature, “Instant Articles,” involves Facebook hosting news and videos. Partners at this stage are believed to be BuzzFeed, The New York Times and National Geographic. The Journal says publishers could sell ads on Facebook-hosted pages and keep all of the revenue, and if Facebook sells the ad, it would keep 30 per cent of the cash.
The incentive for Facebook would be that users are less likely to leave the site.
The Journal reports some reluctance to hand more control to Facebook, which already has a great deal of influence over what content consumers see in their feed.