LA Times Online Revenue Covers Cost Of Whole Newspaper Operation

A year and a half ago, Jason Oberfest, who was then the head of Product Strategy and Business Development at the LA Times, told an audience at PSFK Conference Los Angeles about the major changes that the paper was making to address changes in publishing in order to become a leader in the new media […]

A year and a half ago, Jason Oberfest, who was then the head of Product Strategy and Business Development at the LA Times, told an audience at PSFK Conference Los Angeles about the major changes that the paper was making to address changes in publishing in order to become a leader in the new media space. It looks like those changes have taken effect: the editor of the Los Angeles Times, Russ Stanton, has announced that the paper’s online advertising revenue is now sufficient to cover the cost of the LA Times’s editorial team – for both print and online.

At the PSFK event, Oberfest discussed projects that leveraged content aggregation and local editorial (a summary of his comments can be found here). At the time he said:

The first thing that was really clear to us is that newspaper articles online frankly just dont cut it. And that’s the business had viewed themselves of recreating the newspaper online. We knew we had to change that paradigm -we had to build a more functional product, a more utility oriented product.

Reporting the announcement of the newspaper’s latest success, Jeff Jarvis says:

The same day has arrived for at least one more major US newspaper. What this tells me is that we are on the cusp of the moment when online revenue could sustain a substantial digital journalistic enterprise without the onerous cost of printing and distribution. Hallelujah.

…Imagine if the Times turned off its presses tomorrow. I’ve discussed that prospect before, going back to 2005, when Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger acknowledged that his new Berliner presses might be the last this paper would use. But the talk was speculative. Now it could be real: the paperless paper.

More details about the change at LA Times can be found in Jeff Jarvis’ column for the Guardian. For those of you who are interested in how they got here, here’s the video from Jason Oberfest’s (great) talk:

Jeff Jarvis: History in the making in LA as online ads hit target | Media | The Guardian

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