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.