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NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times Co. is launching another round of buyouts and layoffs, telling staff on Wednesday that it must cut 100 newsroom jobs to further reduce costs and focus resources on its digital operations. It's also axing its NYT Opinion app after four months and relegating the NYT Now app to a smartphone-only product aimed at new and younger readers, after the lower-priced subscription products failed to take off as hoped.
The planned cuts represent about 7.5 percent of a total current newsroom staff of 1,330. Buyouts will be offered to an undisclosed number of senior managers in the print, digital and advertising divisions, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and CEO Mark Thompson said in a morning memo to employees.
Like other newspapers, The New York Times continues to face a drop in print advertising revenue as readers opt for digital content and advertisers shift more of their spending online. Over the past eight years, overall annual print newspaper ad revenue has fallen 64 percent, to $17.3 billion in 2013, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
Sulzberger Jr. and Thompson said that for the most recent quarter ended on Sunday, total advertising revenue was "roughly flat." That's better than the mid-single-digit-percentage decline it had predicted due to digital advertising gains and a strong print ad showing in September which helped counter a weaker July and August. More than 40,000 net new digital subscribers were added in the latest quarter, the biggest jump since 2012. But profit for the quarter and the fiscal year is still expected to fall from last year because of higher operating costs.
The New York Times said the NYT Now app — which included the paper's top stories and was available online and on the iPhone for $2 a week — struck a chord with younger users, many new to the paper. But it will continue as a smartphone app only while the company tests other, "more intuitive" lower-priced subscription offers. The NYT Opinion app, which included unlimited access to an expanded opinion section on the New York Times website and a mobile app for $1.50 a week, will be shuttered. The company said it will continue to sell separate subscription access to the Opinion section of its website.
Shares rose 82 cents, or 7 percent, to $12.04 in midday trading. The stock had been down 29 percent since the beginning of the year.