(Reuters) - For the New York Times, it will be “All the News That’s Fit to Print” - literally - for a while yet.
Mark Thompson, chief executive of the New York Times Co, says that while the company’s digital business is the future, he isn’t giving up on print.
“We are determined to do everything we can do to defend print advertising,” Thompson said in an interview.
“Print advertising is not going to be a part of the growth story of the New York Times, but for economic reasons it matters very much that we hold it as much as we can.”
The Times, like other newspapers, has been under immense pressure to find new avenues of growth as print advertising revenue shrinks and spending moves toward digital ads, which are cheaper and offer quick and quantifiable returns.
But revenue from print advertising still accounts for more than two-thirds of the Times’ advertising revenue.
The paper scrapped its Home and Automobiles sections recently, but debuted a Men’s Style monthly section in April that focuses on fashion and lifestyle.
The Times also, in Thompson’s words, “brilliantly relaunched” the New York Times Magazine in February.
The magazine, as well as “T: The New York Times Style Magazine”, were growing revenue, he said.
“Digital is the main growth area. But where we can invest in what I call ‘islands of growth’ or ‘segments of growth’ in the print side, we will do that,” Thompson said.
Thompson said that while the Times had a long way to go, he believed it was doing a good job of not just defending but increasing market share in print advertising.
The Times’ total average digital circulation rose 14.2 percent to 1.55 million for Monday-Friday in the three months to March 31, according to data from the Alliance for Audited Media published on the Times’ corporate website on Friday. Sunday digital circulation rose 10.7 percent to 1.48 million.
Average print circulation was 625,951 Monday-Friday, a drop of 6.8 percent, and 1.15 million for Sunday, a fall of 5.2 percent. (bit.ly/1JWIOka)
The company said in its quarterly results announcement on Thursday that print ad sales fell 11 percent in the quarter, while digital ad revenue increased 10.7 percent. [ID:nL4N0XR6GY]
Digital advertising revenue was $42.3 million, or 28.2 percent of total advertising revenue of $149.9 million.
“We believe that on the print side we are doing significantly better than our competitors,” Thompson said.
Editing by Ted Kerr