Achieving success in a particularly unforgiving marketplace, The Washington Times is on course to reach profitability in 2015 for the first time in its 32-year history, President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Beasley announced Friday.
Mr. Beasley said the media company had eliminated nearly $25 million in annual losses over the last two years through a combination of revenue growth, expense reductions and restructuring.
“I don’t think for a minute that we’re done changing. But we’ve changed with the industry, and the marketplace has guided us,” Mr. Beasley said. “We don’t want to send the message that we’re there yet. But profitability is in sight.”
There are some hard numbers to consider. Since January 2013, The Washington Times has increased its revenue by one-third while decreasing expenses by 37 percent. Revenues have more than doubled from digital products that include The Times’ website, online videos and email marketing campaigns. Daily print advertising revenues increased by 58 percent.
Two years ago, monthly losses averaged $2.1 million — which translated to $25 million in 2012. By the end of this year, monthly losses are expected to be in the low six figures, Mr. Beasley said.
“Starting next spring or summer, we expect to be profitable because of continued revenue growth and some more belt-tightening,” he said. “You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect to be successful. So we’re doing things differently. And we value our readership, who have let us know they’re pulling for the company.”
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Relentless attention to The Times’ website appears to have paid off. Monthly page views have increased by 42 percent to an average of 26.5 million — up from 18.7 million in 2012. The number of unique visitors to the website rose 35 percent to 9.2 million per month this year, an increase from 6.8 million per month in 2012. Last month, videos on the website were viewed 6 million times compared to 150,000 views the prior October.
“The overall synergy that our people bring to the table is very powerful. I’m still excited when I open the paper each morning or look at the website and its continually changing news offerings. And I am proud of all the people who create it all and put it out there,” Mr. Beasley said.
Engaging talent and resources in the online outreach is a sound strategy. According to new statistics from the Newspaper Association of America, an industry group, readership at newspaper websites nationwide is up by 19 percent in a year, totaling a startling 164 million unique visitors. That readership is up in all age and gender groups, increasing by 77 percent among those over age 50 and 85 percent among younger audiences from 25 to 34.
Mobile devices are also boosting the digital audience for news organizations nationwide; usage is up by 102 percent, the organization reports. Those who only use conventional computers and laptops, in contrast, have actually dropped by 16 percent.
“The Times will continue to publish its print editions while increasing the number of its digital products,” said John Solomon, editor and vice president for content and business development. “The Times used to be a newspaper with a website. Today it’s a multimedia company with an influential print newspaper that’s read and distributed on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.”
In keeping with such thinking, The Times recently launched a digital radio channel with two new apps. It’s also moving into grass-roots email marketing, niche app creation, the staging of advocacy events and the publishing of special sections in the newspaper.
In addition, The Times’ national weekly edition is now profitable as a stand-alone product showcasing the best of news coverage and columns. Customer service operations have been outsourced, and the daily circulation is both sustainable and stabilized, thanks in part to higher subscription prices.
“These are just some of the new activities we have launched to better serve consumers and advertisers. This is a very exciting time for us. Profitability has been a long time coming, but it’s nearly here,” Mr. Beasley said.