There Is No Mystery to the NY Times: It’s All About the Money

A while ago, some asshole with a blog noted:

A key reason why the NY Times seems so confounding to liberal-ish (and farther to the left as well) observers is that they really have two different target audiences, but only one of them pays most of the bills. One might think that the target audience of the NY Times is upper-middle and gentry class readers who are urban/suburban and left-leaning. While this might not make the NY Times inclined to be a champion of the middle and working class (in New York City, that niche kind of belongs to the Daily News), this demographic really doesn’t like Trump at all….

To understand this, you have to recognize the Times’ other constituency…

That’s an ad for a Florida complex where the penthouses go for $40 million. More importantly, if you look at the paper version, the low end ads are for Macy’s and Lord and Taylor’s, with the mid-level ads for Coach. The high-end stuff is nosebleed territory. This is where the NY Times makes its money (yes, the online site makes money, but not like the paper version). It needs these readers.

There are plenty of wealthy and rich people who vote Democratic; some are even rather far left. But many of them, even if they don’t like Trump himself, like his tax cuts. And some of them do like his presidency overall (how many left-leaning Democrats do you think are hanging out at Mar-A-Lago?).

Even the liberal New Republic has figured this out (boldface mine):

The Times is a paper for the East Coast rich. If that doesn’t describe you, the paper is not making editorial decisions with you in mind.

“Times readers in the New York metropolitan area are upscale, affluent, Jewish, liberal and identify with New York’s culture, its museums and its art,” a former Times circulation editor said in a 2013 interview. The company’s media kit—the PR materials designed to convince brands to purchase ads in the paper or on their website—tells a similar story: “The NYT Weekday ranks #1 with Opinion Leaders, reaching 57% of this elite group.” It reports a median household income of $191,000 for readers of the paper and $96,000 for the website.

I am an urban professional, living in New York, making a good living, and The New York Times is barely even for me. Take a surgeon, making $400,000. That is, more or less, the intended reader of the Times, which consigns a mere family practitioner making $200,000 to the “middle class.”

The paper’s target audience explains everything from its bizarre fixation on elite private universities and the behavior of the students attending them to its unshakably windshield-obsessed perspective on transit issues, despite covering the only American city where a majority of households don’t own a car. It explains the entire real estate section, and “Vows,” and why a significant portion of the Gray Lady’s op-ed page is given over to people who only exist to troll a sort of imagined effete elitist caricature of Manhattan liberalism. It even explains the crossword puzzle.

the paper’s reliable fallback posture of professional managerial entitlement does unlock one central feature of the Times worldview: It explains why the people who run the paper react to having this pointed out to them by people on Twitter with one or another variation of do you have any idea who you’re talking to?

Even when acknowledging an error, the default attitude of the paper’s top editor is, we know better than the rabble

Let’s look at the money some more. From the Grey Lady her very own self (boldface mine):

The number of paid subscriptions, digital and print, reached 4.7 million, a high. Nearly 3.8 million people pay for the publisher’s online products, with the company adding a net total of 197,000 customers for its news, crossword and cooking apps during the quarter, a sharp increase from the 109,000 subscriptions added in the same period in 2018. Of those subscribers, 131,000 came for the digital news product….

Subscription revenue rose 3.8 percent from a year earlier, to $270.5 million. Digital-only subscription revenue makes up less than half that, $112.6 million, but grew more than 14 percent from last year’s second quarter.

in absolute terms, print ads brought in slightly more money than digital ads during the second quarter, $62.7 million versus $58 million — a sign that ads on paper remain lucrative.

“Lucrative”, as the kids like to say, is doing a lot of work there. There far more digital subscribers than print subscribers, yet the print ad revenue still brings in more money. Like some asshole with a blog noted, that’s where they make their money, and they are wealthier than the online subscribers. Even if you’re upper-middle class or very bottom tier gentry class, you are not the NY Times demographic they want. Someone is considering buying those expensive multi-million dollar properties–and it’s not you.

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