International Herald Tribune to be renamed this autumn

Updated: 2013-02-27 09:06

(Agencies/China Daily)

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For a decade the International Herald Tribune has been the global edition of The New York Times in all but name. On Monday, the parent company made it official.

In a statement, the New York Times Company said the 125-year-old offshoot of the defunct New York Herald Tribune will be rechristened sometime this fall as the International New York Times.

"The digital revolution has turned The New York Times from being a great US newspaper to becoming one of the world's best-known news providers," said New York Times Company chief executive Mark Thompson.

"We want to exploit that opportunity," said the former BBC boss, adding that a new website for international readers is also in the pipeline.

The IHT was co-owned by The New York Times and The Washington Post from 1967 until 2003, when the Times became its sole proprietor and restyled it as "the global edition of The New York Times".

It almost exclusively showcased The New York Times content in an attempt to appeal to high-earning Anglophone globe-trotters in competition with global editions of The Wall Street Journal and Britain's Financial Times.

International Herald Tribune to be renamed this autumn

Sold in more than 160 countries and territories, it has a daily circulation of more than 226,000, an IHT spokeswoman said.

Before 1967, the IHT was known as the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune - immortalized in Jean-Luc Godard's New Wave classic Breathless by Jean Seberg in a tight yellow T-shirt hawking copies on the Champs-Elysees.

The New York Times published an international edition under its own name from 1946 until it bought into "the Trib" and helped oversee its development as a global media brand through the use of satellite printing plants.

"I have to say I'm sorry to see the Herald Tribune go," said Charles Robertson, author of The International Herald Tribune: The First 100 Years and an IHT reader since his childhood in Switzerland.

"I suppose, once the Times pushed out The Washington Post, it was probably inevitable," said Robertson.

News of the rebranding came less than three weeks after the New York Times Company posted a 2012 group profit of $133 million, compared with a loss of $39.7 million in 2011.

It gave no breakdown of profit or loss figures for its newspapers, but earlier this month it said it was putting The Boston Globe and other New England assets up for sale to focus on its eponymous core product.

Joscelyn MacKay, senior securities analyst at Morningstar in Chicago, said: "The New York Times is a very strong brand in the United States and there are enough people globally who still read it.

"The content itself will have to become a bit more global. But I think it is a definite feasible target for them," she said.

"Whether or not it's going to move the needle over the long run remains to be seen, given the challenges that print media faces."

The International New York Times "will be edited from Hong Kong, Paris, London and New York", according to Monday's statement, and new investments will be made "in print, web and mobile platforms".

IHT spokeswoman Vicky Taylor said in an e-mail there are currently no plans to cut staff numbers or offer buyouts.

Half of those on the IHT payroll are in France, where labor costs are higher than in the United States or Britain.

"In many ways it will be business as usual at the IHT because as an organization we've already taken significant steps to align with The New York Times to the benefit of readers and advertisers," Taylor said.

"Making the full transition to a multiplatform International New York Times is the next logical step."