The New York Times Company is burning full blast towards oblivion and if they don't figure out a way to pull out of their death spiral soon it won't be pretty. In fact, in the first quarter of 2009 the Times lost an incredible $74.5 million which was far far beyond what analysts had predicted. Here's how the Times describes it's own deterioration:
The New York Times Company reported a first-quarter loss of $74.5 million on Tuesday, compared with a loss of $335,000 in the period a year ago, as it joined the roster of newspaper companies recording the steepest advertising declines in generations.
Advertising revenue at the company’s publishing segment fell 28.4 percent in the quarter, including an 8 percent decline in Internet advertising at the News Media Group.
The Times Company’s total revenue of $609 million, down 18.6 percent from $747.9 million in the first quarter a year ago, fell more than $20 million short of analysts’ projections.
Of course this abysmal performance is already being spun by the Times itself and the Associated Press as nothing more than a result of a shift in marketing and the poor economy:
Like other major newspaper publishers, the Times Co. is being hit with a devastating double whammy -- a 16-month-old recession and a marketing shift that has diverted more ad spending to less expensive Internet alternatives. At the same time, many people are doing without newspaper subscriptions because they can read much of the same information for free on the Web.
But I think those of us here at NewsBusters know better than that. Surely the economic situation has resulted in a drop in advertising across the board, as Ace of Spades HQ notes:
An ad slump is bad for a lot of people, not just left wing hack newspapers, so it's hard to take too much joy from this. Still, it's possible to take some.
But that certainly isn't the only reason the Times is suffering. Bad management has also been a key factor in the destruction of revenue. Bad management that decided to buy the already failing Boston Globe, which accounted $85 million in losses, and the continued tolerance for bias. And bias certainly hurts because, truthfully, if you consistently alienate large swaths of potential customers through undeniable and absolutely despicable bias its bound to affect your bottom line.
Some might argue that the Times could still turn a profit through their liberal audience but with the recent drop off in political news interest it seems that is no longer possible. Liberals control Congress and the White House so the day to day workings of Washington are less interesting to them. They aren't picking up their New York Times or Boston Globe to see what "atrocity" George Bush and the evil Republicans committed today.
Here's some free advice for the Times, ditch your terrible management and incorporate the genuine balance and true professionalism that people want from their news sources. Because if you don't eliminate the hackery, which has become so common and so obvious, soon you won't be around to do so in the future.
That rings especially true when you consider this report from the New York Post that expresses just how cash strapped your company is:
According to its first-quarter earnings report, the Times said it had cash and cash equivalents totaling $294 million.
However, $260 million of that is earmarked to pay off debt that matures in March 2010, effectively leaving the company with $34 million.
Heck, some analysts give you less than a year to survive. So you'd better get started right away...