Why the New York Times Is In Trouble

The New York Times appointed a task force headed by “Pinch” Sulzberger’s son to analyze the paper’s market position and recommend strategies relating particularly to its digital products. The resulting report was leaked and has gotten a lot of press attention. You can read it here. Most observers have focused on the report’s relatively negative assessment of the Times’s market position; no doubt it is galling to the Times to be surpassed by schlock outfits like the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.

But this is what struck me: on page 23 of the report, there are charts showing the paper’s internet traffic. The Times currently gets around 6 million page views per day. That is a lot, to be sure. But Power Line averages over 200,000 page views per day. On a big news day, we may get more than 500,000. So day in and day out, the New York Times gets around 30 times the traffic that we do.

No wonder the Times has trouble finding a viable business model! We are four guys running a web site in our spare time. We have no expenses other than hosting fees of around $1,000 a month. We have no payroll and no advertising expenses. And yet the vast, expensive apparatus of the nation’s supposedly premier newspaper can muster only 30 times our traffic.

Moreover, much of the Times’s traffic comes in areas where we do not compete: fashion, local news, New York sports, and especially business. If you could compare our traffic against the Times’s news and op-ed pages, the ratio would be much closer, I would guess 15 to one, or less. And many other news and commentary sites have more traffic than we do–Breitbart, InstaPundit and Hot Air, to name just a few.

It is remarkable that with all of its resources, its thousands of employees and its supposedly eminent brand, the New York Times can’t do better compared with upstart competitors like us. No wonder the Times is in trouble; and you can say the same for most major American dailies.

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