Thursday, January 12, 2006

The New York Times, now 28% a New York newspaper.

The New York Times lost almost 20 percent of its readers in the five boroughs between 2001 and 2004 as the paper pushed to reinvent itself as a national publication. The Times' daily circulation in New York City dropped 18.7 percent during that period ... according to figures obtained by The Post and confirmed by the Times.

This means the Times' readership in the five boroughs is roughly 28 percent of its overall circulation.

Since the mid-1990s, the Times has embarked on a strategy to expand nationally ... As part of that plan, the Times targeted national advertisers and eventually stopped breaking out numbers for circulation within the city...

"It must be a strategic decision," said Edward Atorino, a media analyst with Benchmark Co. in New York [who attributes the decline] to a deliberate decision to target upscale readers while scaling back on distribution in less affluent areas...

Times executives indicated during a recent media conference that the decline in New York City had continued into 2005, offset by increases at the national level.

The reaction among advertisers and media buyers depends on whether they are trying to reach a national or a local audience...
[NY Post]
The "New York" Times' readership is now 1.1% in the Bronx, 0.5% in Staten Island, and 3.2% in Brooklyn, the "non-rich elite" areas of New York.

Well, editorial must be directed to those a paper is sold to, of course. And the Times is no longer being marketed to the population of a great and diverse city, but to those who drive Beamers and buy Prada handbags, wherever they are.

So this may explain a lot -- from its having the likes of Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich as political columnists, to the odes of praise for college football coaches in Texas.
"The local retail advertiser will care because they've been paying advertising increases of 6 to 9 percent a year every year since 2000," said Shelly Kravitz, president of Plus Media Buying Services in New York.

That means local advertisers are paying 30 percent more to reach a New York audience that has shrunk by almost one-fifth, Kravitz said.

"I'm just amazed at that," he added...
And I bet a lot of local businesses will be real happy to be learning it from the Post.