As we reported in October, The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) is tightening the leash on its International Herald Newspaper by folding its well-respected IHT.com in to a NYTimes.com global section and redesigning the paper to look more like its stablemate.
IHT.com disappears: IHT.com users from today are redirected to global.nytimes.com, which is branded with the IHT masthead but which also serves as a new homepage to NYTimes.com for visitors outside the US. Non-US visitors to NYTimes.com are now automatically shuffled along to global.nytimes.com, but can pick which version they want in much the same way WSJ.com users can pick the European, Chinese and other editions. NYTimes.com will get to add IHT.com's existing 2.3 million non-US monthly uniques to its own 25 million worldwide users as it tries to build audience for advertisers. IHT has had some problems redirecting archive articles, however.
Dead-tree makeover: A redesigned paper edition looks like The New York Times in all but masthead logo, which itself has a slightly new typeface and more emphasis on the word "international". There are more web links than before, pointing to global.nytimes.com.
The press release was issued from IHT's Paris HQ and stresses the IHT will "is edited from New York, Paris and Hong Kong to provide users with a 24/7 flow" - but some native-European IHT fans are shedding tears at what IHT publisher Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, in that release, says is "closer integration with New York". The paper was founded in 1887 and was only bought in part by NYTCo 80 years later; it's sold in 180 countries. IHT's fantastic international coverage is so barely rivaled by indigenous papers that many European intelligentsia buy IHT without regard for the New York connection - Europeans don't often identify national and international news with metropolitan titles (eg. there's no London Times), so NYTCo would do well do retain the IHT brand.
After NYTCo took a $19.2 million writedown against IHT in 2008">lost $57.8 million and took a $19.2 million writedown against IHT in 2008, however, cutting IHT.com, with its unique design and structure, seems like one way to save money. Dedicated IHT readers may fret, but the reverse ontology means New York Times readers will likely get even better international content to add to its reputation at home as the bastion of overseas reporting. Despite these moves, IHT will retain Reuters as supplier of much of its business news - a deal inked in 2007. IHT escaped NYTCo cuts that axed 100 business-side staff and introduced pay cuts last week. More in Dunbar-Johnson's note to readers...
Photo, illustrating new edition on left, old edition on right, courtesy Graham Holliday
By Robert Andrews