News, Paid for by Prada

Matthew Yglesias of the Atlantic had a conversation with Paul Krugman of the NYT in which Krugman pointed out that the RE and style elements of the magazine (the Sunday RE section, the style mag, "T") effectively keep the paper afloat.

Interesting, sure. I have two questions. First, would it pay for the NYT to cut back on certain coverage to increase margins for the owner? Taking the opposite tack, is there a way to make the standard news content more attractive to advertisers? I am not sure there is without hindering usability either online or in the paper.

Second, setting aside the Sunday RE guide, which is long-standing, would new additions like T magazine succeed if not for their association with the venerable NYT? If the NYT lends gravitas to these products, it does so largely through its reputation as a news organization, in which case the brand itself has to recieve some credit. Yes, the paper makes the highest margins on ads in peripheral business units, but they spring from a trunk that establishes the brand. Think of Google - the ads pay the bills, but the search and services must continue to improve so that Google remains the most desirable place to place those ads.

1 comment:

Adinalex said...

It is all about how the business works. You are mistaken in thinking that newspapers need to make news content pages more attractive to advertisers - they need to make it more attractive to readers. The RE and style sections are the most read parts of the paper - many fewer readers actually read all of the news. And wherever the readers go, the advertisers will follow. If you can convince the American public to take an interest in events that take place apart from Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan, then you will be able to save the news industry. Why do you think celebrities are on serious news shows ALL THE TIME??? Because ratings go up when there is a scandalous story about them. Regular news is boring and depressing. Who wants to read about wars, disease, and natural disasters killing thousands of people every day? Not me! I'm an American! (And this is why the rest of the world makes fun of us....)