NEW YORK The New York Times and its other newspapers will be "exploring a new online financial strategy" in the coming months, NYT Co. chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. told shareholders at its 113th annual meeting Thursday.
Sulzberger did not specify any particular business model, but suggested NYTimes.com would look again at trying to get paid for its content. For several years, the flagship paper charged international users to access its site, and for a few years charged for access to opinion columns and other contents in its Times Select program.
"We continue to take a fresh, hard and deep look at various subscription, purchase and micropayment models," he said, according to a text of his prepared remarks. "We will have more to say on this subject at a future date."
At the same time, Sulzberger seemed to suggest the advertiser-supported online model is not going to change soon.
"Recently, we analyzed the business models of more than 30 different organizations to determine which are the most effective in generating revenues online," he said. "What we believe is that the advertising model we have used at NYTimes.com has generated more revenue than the vast majority of other organizations, including some that are much larger than our site."
Repeatedly, Sulzberger declared that the quality of journalism would be the key to any strategy for success.
Sulzberger even took a veiled shot at Tribune Co. chairman and CEO Sam Zell, a newcomer to the industry who said in an interview last year, "I haven't figured out how to cash in a Pulitzer Prize." The flagship newspaper won five Pulitzers this week, bringing it total to 101.
"A few months ago," Sulzberger said, "the leader of another media company boldly stated that awards were meaningless because you cannot make money from them. We respectfully and forcefully disagree. These Pulitzers speak directly to the NYT company's relentless commitment to journalistic excellence."
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