NY Times Says Circulation Holding Up to WSJ Assault
New York Times Co. Chief Executive Officer Janet Robinson said the namesake newspaper is holding on to its circulation as the Wall Street Journal promotes its New York section and cuts advertising rates.
“We are definitely not seeing any effect in regard to the circulation,” Robinson said today in an interview in New York. “Are they discounting? Yes, they are, very, very heavily.”
The two newspapers are competing for readers on their home turf as industrywide circulation sales have plunged. News Corp.’s Wall Street Journal introduced its metro section in April, in part to attract readers from the New York Times.
Times Co., based in New York, has maintained its own advertising rates since the Wall Street Journal’s “Greater New York” section debut, Robinson said.
“If they’d like to leave those dollars on the table and give free advertising, we’re more than happy to clean them up,” she said.
A Wall Street Journal spokeswoman, Emily Edmonds, said in an e-mail that the newspaper has increased advertising revenue in April and May, without giving further details.
The New York Times’s nationwide circulation fell 8.5 percent to 951,063 in the six months through March, while circulation at the Journal, which includes paying Internet readers, rose less than 1 percent to 2.09 million, data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations show.
“We are going to maintain the brand promise of the New York Times, regardless of the competition,” Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in the interview.
With more readers accessing its content on the Internet, Times Co. will lower costs such as printing and distribution, Sulzberger said.
“So you don’t need to spend as much money to make as much money,” he said.
Robinson said advertisers supported Times Co.’s decision to begin charging some readers to access its nytimes.com website next year. Times Co. is still determining the details, including price, she said.
The publisher sent a letter to the Wall Street Journal yesterday, demanding it halt using the advertising slogan “Not Just Wall Street. Every Street.” Times Co. said it had previously employed that language for an advertisement.
Sulzberger today declined to comment further on the action.
In a response to the New York Times today, News Corp.’s Dow Jones, which publishes the Journal, said it was “within our rights to use the tag line to compare our offerings.”
“Don’t be too concerned,” the letter said. ‘We never intended to run the ad for too long.” Emily Edmonds, a spokeswoman for Dow Jones, said the ad was used just once in the New York Post and the Journal.
Times Co. has asked Apple Inc. for approval to create a free iPhone application called “The Scoop” that focuses on New York City dining and nightlife, Sulzberger said. He said he expected it to be available within a couple weeks.
Times Co., which also owns the Boston Globe and International Herald Tribune, fell 43 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $8.50 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 31 percent this year.
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