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Answer to New York Times Revenue Shortfalls: Wine, and Lots of It

Apparently, one of the solutions to The New York Times Company's ongoing revenue problems is wine. And I'm not talking about the possibility that the organization's employees are drinking up as fleeting relief from the erosion of the newspaper industry. Like The Wall Street Journal and San Francisco Chronicle before it, the company is starting The New York Times Wine Club, offering the wines in a" $90 or $180 per six-bottle shipment ... customers can choose to have wine delivered every one, two or three months."

In a story that ran without a byline in the Times, Thomas K. Carley, the company's senior vp of strategic planning, says, apparently straight-faced:

The Times is looking at a lot of different ideas for engaging our audience to make statements about what are our strengths, what are the ways that we can delve further into our audience and bring them products and services that basically enhance the bond with The New York Times.
Nothing like curling up with a glass of Merlot and a Paul Krugman column about partisian politics, I always say.

Seriously, though, why is the Times Co. spending time setting up a wine club when its entire industry is struggling to find a new business model that will allow it to survive? Doesn't putting this wine club together seem like a drain on resources that should be devoted to that larger issue? I can only imagine how this wine club, and other ventures, "will enhance the bond" with readers. What's next? Times' desk accessories? Times'-branded plush toys? Sheesh.

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