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Running Red Queen's Race In Newspapers

By: Mathew Ingram

I missed this the other day, but my friend Scott Karp had a great, in-depth look at the New York Times and its...

... advertising revenue picture - trying to sift through the various financial tea leaves and figure out in dollar terms (as opposed to percentage terms) just how much the Grey Lady's print revenue has been declining, and how much its online revenue has been increasing, and whether the latter is enough to offset the former.

I don't want to spoil the ending, but according to Scott's math - which looks fairly comprehensive to me (although I am an English major) - the answers are a) a lot, b) somewhat and c) not even close. Part of the problem with trying to do what Scott did is that the Times, much like other newspapers, doesn't like to break out exact numbers for either its newspaper revenue declines or its online revenue increases, which may have something to do with the fact that "online is growing by 20 per cent" sounds a whole lot better than "grew by $3-million," especially when your print revenue sank by almost ten times that amount and your top line is about $483-million. Steve Boriss at the Future of News has some thoughts on Scott's detective work.


The title of this post, for anyone not familiar with Alice in Wonderland, refers to the chess game in that book, in which the Red Queen says "It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"


View All Articles by Mathew Ingram

About the Author:
Mathew Ingram is a technology writer and blogger for the Globe and Mail, a national newspaper based in Toronto, and also writes about the Web and media at and

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