The Wrong Way To Fix The New York Times (NYT)

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The New York Times (NYT) suspended its dividend. That says a lot about what it sees as it looks out of the next quarter.  Print and online advertising must be getting much worse than last year.

Less than four months ago, the Times lowered the dividend from 23 cents to 6 cents.  So the publisher is giving up on sending money to shareholders, including the founding Sulzberger family.

Cutting the dividend is not going to do much.  Selling off or closing divisions that are dragging the company down will.  The New York Times needs to rid itself of its regional newspapers including The Boston Globe, even if it has to shut them down.

In the fourth quarter of last year, revenue at the firm’s New England Media Group fell 15%. Experts think that The Boston Globe loses $1 million a week.  The parent company has to make up for that. Killing the Globe would make up for a lot more than the last dividend cut.

The company’s Regional Newspaper Group is made up of a number of small dailies and weeklies. Revenue in that division dropped 16% last quarter. The papers in the group need to be auctioned off or shuttered.

The New York Times newspaper may well be saved. It cannot be with the anchors of the other properties.

Douglas A. McIntyre