NY Times is moving to Netflix-style subscriber model as it seeks to sell Globe, new CEO says

New York Times Co. chief executive Mark Thompson, in a meeting with employees in New York Tuesday, reiterated that the company was selling the New England Media Group in order to focus on its main newspaper.

Thompson, who recently joined the Times Co. from the BBC in London, noted that the Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette have their own legacies of award-winning journalism and “their own loyal readers.”

“But these are newspapers that operate in very different markets from the New York Times,’’ he said. “We believe they are more likely to make the most of their strategic opportunities in new hands.”


He made no specific comments on the process of selling the Globe. The Times Co. last week said it has hired investment bankers to seek bidders for the Globe and its online businesses, and, as well as for the Worcester T&G and its online news site. Executives said the sale could take six to nine months.

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Thompson also laid out his view of the Times’s future without the many media outlets it has sold off recently. It’s a more international strategy to be sure, as evidenced by plans to rename the International Herald Tribune as the International New York Times. “We want to face the whole world with one clear brand,’’ Thompson said.

He also talked about a shifting model for the Times where subscribers account for more revenue than advertisers, as advertising continues to shift away from print. In the future, he said subscribers would be “our most important set of customers,’’ in a model more like HBO or Netflix than a traditional newspaper.

Thompson said the Times Co. would seek additional ways to contain costs, but not at the expense of the newsroom. While the company has made strides in the shift to digital media, he said, “We’re still very far from being out of the woods today.”

Beth Healy can be reached at