New York Times Moves Into "Active Development Mode" On Paywall, Plans Paid iPad App

new york times NYT

The New York Times has moved into “active development mode” on its forthcoming online metered pay model, but still doesn’t have any details on pricing, Times CEO Janet Robinson said during the company’s second quarter 2010 earnings call this morning.

She also announced that The Times is planning a paid iPad app. Its existing iPad app is free. (See our full liveblog below.)

Toward the end of the call, during the Q&A portion, one caller asked if The Wall Street Journal’s new Greater New York section had cut into The Times’ advertising.

“I think we’ve said often that they are certainly pursuing their strategy, which includes deep discounting, but we have not seen any impact in regard to our ad schedules,” said Robinson.

Asked if Greater New York was “what they had expected,” Robinson replied: “Anyone can look at the section and make their own judgments.”

To recap the earnings report: On the print side, ad revenues declined 6.1% (versus 12.1% in Q1). But that was offset by 21.2% uptick in digital ad revenue.

Total revenues increased 1.2% to $589.6 million. Net income was down to $32 million from $39 million in the second quarter of 2009. But operating profit nearly doubled from $23.5 million to $60.8 million.

Here are our notes from the call:

11:04 – CEO Janet Robinson: Summarizing the earnings report. “The key elements that converged to deliver this quarter’s strength are the recovering ad market, the impact of taking costs out of the business and our continuing moves into digital platforms.”

11:06: “While we remain vigilant about managing our costs, these efforts will become more difficult in the second half of the year.”

11:08 – On the forthcoming paid website model: “We have transitioned into active development mode. We will be announcing pricing and further information as we get closer to the launch.”

11:10 – Robinson’s running through the numbers in the earnings report.

11:13 – “The Times is in a unique position in the national ad market, with three quarters of ads coming from national advertisers. Our luxury advertisers are increasing their spending.”

11:14 – Retails print ads lower despite strong online gains.

11:16 – 4 Loeb Awards received in Q2 for business journalism. got three news Emmy nominations for online video.

11:18 – “We’re thrilled to have the renowned fashion editor Sally Singer [new T mag editor] join the NYT.”

11:19 – We’re in the midst of a significant expansion of the DealBook blog,

11:20 – In June alone, approx 106 million page views from mobile sites and apps. 4.5 million downloads of iPhone news app since launched 2 years ago.

11:21 – “The Times is planning a full paid iPad app as part of our overall paid strategy.”

11:24 –  Total internet ad revenues rose 21% to $82 million from $62 million.

11:25 – Print ad revenues expected to improve in next quarter.

11:25 – Robinson turns call over to CFO Jim Follo.

11:32 – “We are well-positioned to thrive in the media market place. We will ensure the NYT Co. remains a dominant force in the media landscape.”

11:33 – Q&A starting.

11:36 – How much cost associated with online paywall in third and fourth quarter? Follo: “I’d rather not get precise.”

11:38 – WSJ cutting ad rates in certain categories by 85-90%. Hurting NYT ad numbers? Robinson: “I think we’ve said often that they are certainly pursuing their strategy which includes deep discounting, but we have not seen any impact in regard to our ad schedules, and no impact in regard to circulation. They certainly are entitled to pursue their strategy, but we’re very much focused on competing the way we always have … By selling our superior demographics and making sure people understand how we differentiate across all the competitive sets.”

11:39- Question: Was the WSJ Greater NY section what you expected? Robinson: “I don’t think we had any expectations in regard to another media entity’s product development. We have expectations of our own and they’re very very high. Anyone can look at the section and make their own judgments.”

11:42 – Performance of T style magazine has been “very nice.”

11:43 – That’s a wrap.

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