Jul 30, 2014

Media briefs: Times are tough … superinjunctions are super-exciting … photo line-ups …

Stop presses! There's a great big story that ... oh, we can't tell you. Plus other media tidbits of the dya.

Big news ... that we can't tell you. What happens when you tell journalists they can't report on something? They, self-obsessed lot, make that the story anyway! The full injunction, if you read it (and you can't on any Australian website), isn't about the sort of story you'd expect to excite a tabloid editor. But the injunction itself, revealed by WikiLeaks, is big news. It made the front page of ...

... and Fairfax's social media accounts have been running hard on their "exclusive" all morning. Thanks to WikiLeaks, it's probably safe to say this story will get more coverage than the events the injunction prevents us from reporting on were likely to get anyway. -- Myriam Robin Pain and more pain for the The Grey Lady. The June quarter brought The New York Times back to earth after the optimism of the first quarter, when the company reported a rise in print and digital ad sales for the first time in three years. The company's journey to an all-digital future slowed noticeably: analog ad sales resumed their decline, digital ad sales slowed and higher spending on a series of new digital products, higher pay and benefits and retirement costs added financial pressures. The bottom line from the second-quarter figures show the company continues to find it tough to boost digital revenues and profits faster than the fall in analog revenues. The NYT overnight revealed that total revenue edged down 0.6% to US$388.7 million for the three months to June, while total costs rose 5.2% to US$362.7 million. Quarterly net profit fell 54% to just over US$9 million from US$20.1 million a year earlier. Overall, newspaper advertising revenue fell 6.6% in the quarter, driven by a 4.1% slide in print ad sales (to just over US$156 million). Digital advertising revenue increased to US$41.5 million from US$40.1 million in the second quarter of last year -- a rise of 3.4% but hardly the sort of performance that will save the Times from the continuing collapse in analog ad revenues. Circulation revenues rose 1.4% to more than US$209 million, bolstered more by a rise in subscribers and higher home delivery charges for the print edition than higher print sales. Paid subscribers to the NYT's digital-only products totalled about 831,000, an increase of 32,000 from the first quarter. For the first time, the company included subscribers of its three newest digital products -- NYT Now, Times Premier and NYT Opinion -- in its total digital-only subscribers base. Also for the first time, the company revealed revenues from its digital subscriptions. Circulation revenues from the company’s digital-only subscription products, e-readers and replica editions were US$41.7 million in the second quarter, up 13.5% versus the same period in 2013. That's a 19% share of total circulation revenues of just under US$210 million. Digital income from all sources in the quarter totalled US$83.2 million, or 21.4% of total revenues, compared to just over US$77 million (or just under 20%) a year earlier. Severance payments cost US$2.2 million, down from US$2.9 million a year earlier. (Media reports attributed this to the paper's sacked recent editor, Jill Abramson, who lost her job in May.) And there's more pain in the present quarter, with the company forecasting ad revenues to fall by a mid-single-digit percentage in the three months to September 30 and "total circulation revenues are expected to be flat compared with the third quarter of 2013”. -- Glenn Dyer Picture worth how many words? As part of its expansive coverage of the lost dictaphone saga involving one of its reporters, The Age yesterday published a handy who's who guide to the major players. Too bad, as has been pointed out on Twitter, that two of the pictures were wrong.

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