The New York Times: The Empire Strikes Back - [Business Breakdowns, EP. 48]

02.23.2022 - By Business Breakdowns

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This is Jesse Pujji and today we’re breaking down The New York Times. Since its founding in 1851, The New York Times has become known as the national “newspaper of record” through its focus on truth seeking and quality journalism. To underline that status, it has won 132 Pulitzer Prizes, almost double its nearest competitor. However, the business behind the Times hasn’t always been easy and it has faced several existential threats over its history, most recent of which has come from the internet and digital mediums.   To break down The New York Times, I’m joined by Morning Brew co-founder and host of Founder’s Journal and Imposters podcasts, Alex Lieberman. It’s particularly interesting to hear a new media operator dissect the heritage and evolution of one of the most storied brands in his industry. Please enjoy this breakdown of The New York Times.   For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.   -----   This episode is brought to you by Visible Alpha. The team at Visible Alpha built a platform to analyze consensus data and financial metrics on over 6,000 publicly traded companies. Rather than having to dig through models one by one, Visible Alpha extracts data from every line item across sell-side models so you can better understand expectations on metrics beyond just revenue and earnings. Try Visible Alpha for free by visiting   -----   This episode is brought to you by Quartr. With Quartr, you can access conference calls, investor presentations, transcripts, and earnings reports – straight from your pocket. Quartr is 100% free and includes companies from 12 markets including the US, the UK, Canada, India, and all the Scandanavian countries. Quartr is available for both iOS and Android, so check out the app today.   -----   Business Breakdowns is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Business Breakdowns, visit   Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.   Follow us on Twitter: @JoinColossus | @patrick_oshag | @jspujji | @zbfuss   Show Notes [00:02:55] - [First question] - What The New York Times is as a business [00:04:35] - Snapshot of the scale of The New York Times and it’s readership [00:08:06] - The origin story of The New York Times and becoming a national news source [00:11:40] - How the business is distinctive being family-run for five generations [00:15:00] - Unpacking the shift from physical to digital and how it impacted their numbers [00:20:00] - Course correcting after the first few years of their digital strategy not succeeding as anticipated [00:23:43] - The cost of sales and the margins of the business and growth levers [00:27:47] - Revenue differences between advertising and subscriptions  [00:29:37] - What does their non-digital advertising business look like [00:31:43] - The biggest levers for growing the topline and bottomline of the business [00:35:18] - Acquiring Wirecutter & historical M&A; performance [00:37:57] - Other categories and businesses that help build a bigger audience [00:42:00] - Differences between the Netflix and New York Times subscription models [00:44:37] - Leaning into world events and politics [00:48:22] - Macro factors and specific things that would lead to reaching their subscriber goal in the future [00:51:10] - Mistakes and threats that could negatively impact their goals [00:55:43] - Biggest lessons for builders, entrepreneurs, executives and investors [00:58:30] - Learn more about the New York Times; Peter Kafka, Rich Greenfield, Lightshed Partners

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