Even when it is late, I felt curious to read NYTCO 2008 annual report, and I am going to read similar reports for other companies, because, at least the introduction and the softer financial data gives some insight.
The main light they underline is growing audience when considering aggregated data of on/offline. Their unresolved questions are the same, probably, we all have:
- How do we continue to provide the printed products that hundreds of thousands of our readers treasure while appealing to a new generation of consumers?
This question is very right, many people, pure-player minded (like myself a couple of years ago) cannot understand the outcomes of decision making in “traditional” media by just ignoring this simple question.
- How do we get paid for the journalism we provide online?
-How do we reduce our costs while protecting the quality of our journalism?
Then, without answering, it suggests this scheme (can anyone say this is wrong?):
Other identified point is the desire of advertisers of being attached to innovative products:
Our growth depends to a significant degree upon the development of our digital businesses.
- Significantly increasing our online traffic
- Attracting advertisers
- Exploiting new and existing technologies to distinguish our products
- Investing funds and resources in online opportunities
- Strategic relationships to attract more consumers
- Attracting and retaining talent for critical positions
If we are not successful in maintaining or growing revenues from our digital businesses to offset continued or accelerating declines in revenues from our print products, our business, financial condition and prospects will be adversely affected.
September 12, 2009 Comments Off
New York Times has a clear strategy and execution. They are definitely moving in the right direction.
It is widely maintained around techonology blogs and analysts that traditional media companies are not aware of our changin landscape. I personally believe that the complex nature of media companies makes it uneasy to lead the changing world, but top executives in some media business know what they are doing.
Having a look to a PPT of New York Times in Bear Stearns 21st Annual Media Conference (March, 2008) is helpful to see a media company situation nowadays. It states 3 challenges.
1. Protecting the brand and maintaining journalistic excellence are paramount
2. Capitalizing on opportunities in print while improving productivity and improving our cost structure
3. Growing our Internet businesses organically while making smart acquisitions
In other words: we want to continue being a reference brand in terms of quality (differenatiation), we have a cow that is decreasing and that is why we got to reduce structural costs, we have Internet to grow both: organically and through acquisitions. So, we got: brand + current cash generation (print) + future cash generation (online).
It is nice to see such a clear statement and assumption of reality. The document as a whole goes around those statements. It is a transitional strategy, a change management problem:
The document quickly focuses in online development. And, concretely, they more concentrate in analysis and business development than in content production. I believe this is a very realistic approach that is completely different to the one taken by some “native” companies that first try to concentrate in product development and content production and then try to work how to monetize it (mobuzz, or lycos may be example of the later, and even some business units in Google). In fact, most failures in Internet are happening in new ventures of pure players, we rarely saw a “traditional” media failing in their Internet operations. There is a pragmatic view coming from offline that is going to change the way to develop business online.
That is business sustainability, caring on how will we monetize our service. 500 MM $ investment in a clear direction: reinvigorate growth within Digital businesses. But also, selling businesses in TV, radio and print (worth 700 MM $). So… aren’t they going in the right direction?
I see them betting hard, and I think they are already transforming their business. For sure, they are going to be a winner also with new technologies.
We may well critizise “traditional” media when they are slow movers, but we have to recognize that this is not always the case.
December 2, 2008 1 Comment