Louis Hau has written an insightful analysis for Forbes looking at the end of the world as Pinch knows it. Hau rightly credits Abe Rosenthal with creating many of the improvements that 25 years ago did so much to make the paper into a national daily, and that now drag the ’chute that slows the Times’s long decline under Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
How hard would it be for the owner of Fox Sports to add daily box scores? Or a real crossword puzzle? Indeed, The Wall Street Journal’s transformation under Murdoch could draw inspiration from the Times’ own innovations under former Executive Editor A.M. Rosenthal, who helped establish the Times as a truly national paper by broadening its appeal in the ’70s and ’80s with expanded coverage of sports, fashion and the arts.
Audacious, to be sure. But the Journal is already dealing from a position of strength, boasting average daily circulation of 2.06 million during the six months ended March 31, up six-tenths of a percent from the same period last year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. That was 84% greater than the Times’ circulation of 1.12 million, which was down 1.9% from a year earlier.
Who’d have thought that shaping a product designed to intentionally alienate half the available market would be a bad business decision? Anyway, an interesting piece, one of many on this topic these days (including this off-the-wall item from “Walter Duranty” on the Times’ recent page-size reduction).
What makes Hau’s piece more compelling than some others is the inescapable conclusion that the New York Times Company could be wildly successful and profitable–if only they’d stop publishing The New York Times.