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NY Times Co. hires BBC chief as next CEO
In a statement late Tuesday, Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. called Thompson a “gifted executive” and hailed his ability to generate revenue from new types of products. In particular, the Times Co. cited the BBC’s multimedia offerings during the London Olympics.
Stock in the Times Co. increased a penny to $9.10 in after-hours trading following the announcement.
The Times Co., faced with declining ad revenue from its printed editions, has been trying to boost revenue from digital products. Last year, it began charging for online access to The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and The Boston Globe newspapers.
In the quarter that ended in June, the company had 532,000 digital subscribers at those newspapers. Digital subscriptions helped the company increase overall revenue by nearly 1 percent in the quarter to $515 million.
At the same time, the company is shedding troubled businesses, even if they are online. Last week, it agreed to sell its About.com information service for $270 million following several quarters of slowing revenue.
The appointment follows the company’s addition in June of two technology heavyweights to its board: Joichi Ito, an early investor in Twitter and director of the Media Lab at MIT, and Brian McAndrews, a venture capitalist who specializes in funding technology startups.
Thompson led the British Broadcasting Corp. as director-general for eight years. He presided over a difficult period marked by job reductions, cuts in operations including websites for some shows and unpopular changes to employee pension programs. Last year, the BBC announced a plan to cut 2,000 jobs with a goal to cut costs by 20 percent.
In addition to his role as director-general, Thompson became chairman of BBC Worldwide this year. That’s the unit that sells DVDs and other merchandise and licenses BBC shows outside Britain. It had revenue of about $1.7 billion in the year through March, or about a fifth of the total.
Douglas Arthur, an analyst with Evercore Partners, said the hiring was a “positive development” and should help the Times Co. expand internationally. The New York Times launched a Chinese-language website in June.
“He’s used to the intense glare of the media circus in the U.K. He’s no rookie,” Arthur said. “The challenge is he comes from a TV background, not a print one.”
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
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