Thursday, May 5, 2011

At the NY Times, the left hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

 Media Post News reports today that the target figure for Times “pay to play” for online content (300,000 subscribers) is inaccurate according to the Times digital head Martin Nizenholtz.  According MPN, he stated, “I don’t know where that number comes from.”

Well it came from the NY Times.  Again from Media Post News:

Actually, the figure first appeared in a highly reputable source that often serves as the basis for news that shows up all over the place -- the pages of The New York Times. Staci Kramer, reporting in PaidContent, takes care to point out that Niesenholtz knew that fact, and that his comment referred to the "company executives" who "privately" gave the 300,000 figure to reporter Jeremy Peters.

At the NY Times shareholder meeting two weeks ago, CFO Janet Robinson touted the fact that in three weeks time they had signed up 100,000 paywall subscribers, which gave the appearance they were well on their way to hitting the announced 300,000 target.  What she neglected to say was the Lincoln Division of Ford, a regular advertiser, had contacted about 200,000 of the Times’ heaviest digital users to offer them free unlimited access to the Times for the balance of the year.  Nor did she say what the arrangement was between Lincoln and the Times.  Felix Salmon at Reuters wonders too.

Seems the Times wants to move the goal posts a bit.

See also my Island Turtle article:  Is the Washington Post about to spoil the NY Times big payday?

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