NYT's Ongoing Struggle: "Cash, $37 Million; Debt, $1 Billion"

Last Updated Jul 24, 2009 11:16 AM EDT

So, The New York Times' Q-2 numbers are in and they're not good -- everything is down. Near the end of the narrative portion of the company's 8-K is this unsettling juxtaposition: "At the end of the quarter, cash and cash equivalents were approximately $37 million and total debt was approximately $1.0 billion."

Some $44.5 million of this debt (more than the total cash on hand) still comes due this year, with $200 million due in 2011, $75 million in 2012, and a staggering $500 million in 2015. By then, I suspect, we will be looking at a substantially different company, restructured and repositioned as a digital media operation with more targeted print products as opposed to the "everything for everybody" newspaper of today.

The Times' management seems to be making all the right moves these days, cutting costs and exploring new paid content models, and they certainly are talking the right talk. Company President and CEO Janet Robinson stated today, "As we continue our transition from a company focused primarily on print to one that is increasingly digital in focus and multi-platform in delivery, online advertising revenues are a more important part of our mix. They made up 21 percent of our ad revenues in the quarter, up from 18 percent in the same period a year ago."

The company continues to shop its New England assets, including its stake in the Boston Red Sox, and a regional sports cable network.

Meanwhile, subscription revenue edged up in the quarter, by 1.5 percent, due to that sudden home delivery price rise announced late in May. You can check out the entire filing, and review all the numbers, explanations and projections by following this link.

  • David Weir

    David Weir is a veteran journalist who has worked at Rolling Stone, California, Mother Jones, Business 2.0, SunDance, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, MyWire, 7x7, and the Center for Investigative Reporting, which he cofounded in 1977. He’s also been a content executive at KQED, Wired Digital, Salon.com, and Excite@Home. David has published hundreds of articles and three books,including "Raising Hell: How the Center for Investigative Reporting Gets Its Story," and has been teaching journalism for more than 20 years at U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and Stanford.