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Posts Tagged ‘Janet L. Robinson’

The About Group Names New CEO

The About Group, which operates about.com and is owned by The New York Times Company, has found a new CEO after searching for one since May. Starting September 1, Darline Jean, About’s current CFO, will be promoted to CEO. According to the New York Times, Jean will have her work cut out for her:

About has been struggling with declining revenue and Web traffic since Google changed both the way it directs traffic to informational sites like About.com and the way it allows those sites to collect revenue from ads that users click on. In the second quarter, About’s revenues dropped 17.3 percent to $27.8 million.

Janet L. Robinson, CEO of the Times Company, however, has complete confidence in Jean. “Darline’s experience and knowledge of the About Group makes her well suited to continue overseeing the strategic investments being made across the business unit and its response to some of the shifts taking place in the search universe,” said Robinson.

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The New York Times Profits Drops 57 Percent

Whenever someone gives us the choice, we always pick hearing the bad news first, so here it is: The New York Times profit fell by 57 percent in the first quarter, dropping from $12.8 million in 2010 to $5.4 million this year. The culprit once again is lagging print advertising sales. Okay, digest that for a minute. Go ahead, have another sip of coffee. Also, you’ve got a piece of bagel stuck to your chin.

Okay! Now, on to the good news: The first stats on the paper’s paywall subscribers are in, and over 100,000 people have already signed on. That’s a promising sign for the Times, as Janet L. Robinson points out:

While the challenges for our company and for the larger economy are not yet behind us, the recent launch of the Times digital subscription packages on NYTimes.com and across other digital platforms brings our plan for a new revenue stream to life, offering us another reason for optimism about the future.

See? All is not lost. It’s still early, but hopefully the paywall gives the Times some life.

Times Execs Answer Readers’ Pay Wall Questions

nyt logo.jpgIn the days since its announcement this week about plans to launch a pay wall on its Web site next year, The New York Times has covered the news from every angle. The paper is also offering up top execs to answer pressing questions from readers, which will give information to press outlets and blogs, too.

New York Times Co. CEO Janet L. Robinson and Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president for digital operations, are currently fielding questions for the NYTimes.com “Talk to The Times” feature.

In addition to assuring readers that subscribers to the print edition will get free access to the site — though those who can’t get home delivery are out of luck — Robinson and Nisenholtz gave a little insight into the details of the pay wall plan that have yet to be revealed. For example, on lessons learned from their last attempt to charge for online access, TimesSelect:

“We learned, for example, that people will pay for content online, particularly for a robust package of high quality Times content. We also learned that you have to carefully weigh the benefits of an advertising and a subscription model. And we learned that many NYTimes.com users believe what differentiates us is our journalism, the depth and breadth of our reporting and analysis.”

Not surprisingly, the paper’s own research has revealed that “a significant number of our best customers are willing to pay for access to the entire Web site,” which is most likely the impetus behind the confidence to launch a pay wall.

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More On Times Online Pay Model: The Memo

nyt logo.jpgAlthough details are scarce about The New York Times‘ decision to launch a metered pay model on its Web site next year, announced this morning, publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and New York Times Co. CEO Janet L. Robinson sent a memo to staff today explaining the impetus behind their decision.

As suspected, the reason behind the move is the search for an additional revenue stream, which Sulzberger and Robinson said, “will be an important part of our future.” They added:

“While digital advertising will continue to be the major contributor to our success on the Web, we expect that online subscription revenue will improve our ability to grow an important part of this business.”

As for the choice of a metered model versus, say, The Wall Street Journal‘s model requiring payment for full access to exclusive stories, Sulzberger and Robinson said the move will allow the Times to “remain a vibrant part of the search-driven Web, which has proven to be an integral reason for why we have become an industry leader in display advertising.” Who said Google News wasn’t good for something (ahem, Rupert Murdoch)?

Sulzberger and Robinson also addressed concern from critics recently — criticism which has reached a fever pitch since a New York magazine report surfaced over the weekend revealing the paper’s pay model plans a few days in advance. The execs admitted there are challenges ahead, and they are taking it slowly, planning to roll out the pay model a year from now. As they told their staff:

“Ultimately, we recognize that the success of our ideas will be judged by how well we execute this effort in the months to come. That is why we are waiting until 2011 to introduce this new system. To pursue this new approach requires that we utilize the full energy and intellect of all of you. All that work begins today…It will take time to get this right.”

Other things to take away from the memo: while the idea of joining a consortium with other publishers is still on the table, this metered model will be a “stand-alone product.”

In addition to the memo, the paper also published their own story today about their announcement, emphasizing their desire to take it slowly and get their pay model right. Executive editor Bill Keller, has reportedly “embraced the plan,” telling the Times:

“It underscores the value of what we do — trustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism, which is an increasingly rare and precious thing. And it gives us a second way to sustain that hard, expensive work, in addition to our healthy advertising revenue.”

After the jump, the full memo sent to Times staffers today.

Read more: The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Web SiteNew York Times

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