IHT Site Shutting Down; Content Will Be Used To Increase NYT.com's Inventory, Foreign Appeal

This story was written by Patrick Smith.
The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) could be getting a more international flavour in its online news as the website for the International Herald Tribune is shut down and its content is moved over to NYTimes.com, as Forbes.com reports. An internal memo yesterday broke the news to staff and said there would be "hard decisions" to make about jobs and some relocations. The IHT, owned by New York Times Media Group, is published in 180 countries but has struggled to keep up with the web operations of its more illustrious sister title. While NYTimes.com attracted 19.4 million unique monthly users in August, Paris-based IHT.com got just 2.5 million, according to Comscore.

As Forbes puts it, "The IHT site has long been an anachronism in an age where the flagship NYTimes.com was available anywhere in the world". NYTimes.com general manager Vivian Schiller told Forbes that "it's absolutely, positively not about cost savings" and would give the Times more opportunities to monetize its foreign web traffic, which makes up between 18 and 20 percent of its total audience, as well as increasing inventory.

-- IHT.com has experimented with content syndication deals to increase its audience and in December last year hooked up with Reuters to create the Business With Reuters section in the a print and web partnership. This and other schemes clearly did not generate enough traffic and revenue to justify a standalone site. Just last month NYTimes.com and IHT.com announced a syndication deal with financial analysis site BreakingViews.

By Patrick Smith