The New York Times is laying off 68 staffers, but keeping the newsroom intact.
President and chief executive officer Mark Thompson and executive vice president and chief operating officer Meredith Levien made the announcement to employees in a memo Tuesday evening.
Most of the layoffs are in advertising, including staff at Fake Love, The Times’ experiential marketing agency, which it is shuttering. A few other roles were eliminated in other departments but none in the newsroom or opinion.
“The eliminations are taking place in parts of the company that have seen a significant immediate impact from the virus, but they also reflect long-term trends in our business and are fully consistent with the company’s strategy,” the memo said.
It further explained that while the transformation from a legacy newspaper to a multimedia digital news provider has boosted staff numbers in both the newsroom and the business side over the past few years, “the decline of some traditional revenue streams and the changes in direction that inevitably come with digital experimentation have also meant some job losses.”
Thompson indicated in May during a call with analysts that there would likely be some job cuts as advertising was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic despite a spike in subscriptions.
At the time he revealed The Times added 587,000 net new digital subscriptions in the three months ended March 29, compared with the previous quarter. This was the biggest quarterly jump on record.
However, this was not matched by an increase in advertising, which is tumbling across the whole media industry. Digital advertising revenue decreased 7.9 percent to $51.2 million, while print advertising revenue was down 20.9 percent. It is not set to make a comeback in the second quarter ending June 30, either, with Thompson expecting it to drop between 50 and 55 percent, compared with the same period a year earlier.
The Times acquired Brooklyn-based startup Fake Love in 2016 for an undisclosed sum. It said the acquisition would “further expand the creative services of T Brand Studio, the Times Company’s marketing services agency, by enabling it to grow its experiential marketing, virtual reality and augmented reality capabilities.”