x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

NY Times considers Arabic site

The New York Times is considering launching an Arabic version of its website in line with its expansion efforts in the digital age.

The New York Times Company building in New York. The newspaper is planning language websites that will feature local contributions and translated edition articles. Michael Nagle / Bloomberg News
The New York Times Company building in New York. The newspaper is planning language websites that will feature local contributions and translated edition articles. Michael Nagle / Bloomberg News

The New York Times is considering launching an Arabic version of its website in line with its expansion efforts in the digital age.

The US-based daily newspaper, which attracts about 40 million unique visitors a month to its website, also owns the International Herald Tribune, which it plans to rebrand as the International New York Times to target a more global readership.

"We are planning other local language sites," said Marc Frons, the senior vice president and chief information officer at The New York Times Company.

"We have already announced a Portuguese website. After that we will look at Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Spanish. We don't know the timing [for launch], these things are a little more complicated than just going abroad."

The foreign language websites will include translated articles from the English edition as well as articles written by "people on the ground", said Mr Frons.

"International is going to be a core part of our strategy. About 30 per cent of our traffic comes internationally, but just 2 per cent of revenues come from [abroad]," he added.

The group raked in US$191 million in advertising revenue in the first quarter of this year, down 11 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. Revenue from its print and digital circulation, however, increased 6.5 per cent to $241m.

"Print advertising is declining at about 10 per cent a year, which is steep considering that is the majority of our revenue. The challenge is to slow things down," said Mr Frons.

Paid digital subscriptions totalled 708,000 subscribers at the end of the first quarter, an increase of 40,000 when compared with the end of December last year. The company has attributed the growth to its diverse range of subscription packages across its portfolio of titles. Mr Frons believes the paper is at an inflection point right now. Currently digital subscribers make up 44 to 45 per cent of its readership, but next year this is expected to grow to 52 per cent. By 2016, online readers, both on the website and mobile applications, should reach 69 per cent.

"That is a huge change and shift in how we think about our technology and how we think about news. It changes the way readers interact with their devices and the way they think about news," said Mr Frons. "Part of the challenge is to keep up with the culture of innovation in technology."

 

thamid@thenational.ae