'New York Times' closes R&D Ventures
The New York Times Company has shuttered R&D Ventures, a spinoff of its in-house technology think tank, the R&D Lab, Capital has learned.
R&D Ventures was conceived in early 2012 as a vehicle for commercializing innovations spawned by the R&D Lab ("research and development"), such as a digital-marketing technology called Ricochet that was introduced last April.
But R&D Ventures hasn't shaped up to be a significant revenue-generator for the company, sources familiar with the matter told Capital.
"We are cutting back our investment in R&D Ventures," a Times spokeswoman, Eileen Murphy, confirmed to Capital. "This is being done to keep expenses more in line with revenue and most of the employees impacted are being reassigned."
Positions have been eliminated as a result, sources said. One source put the total number of impacted employees in the "single digits" and said efforts were being made to find some of them new positions within the company.
Over the past couple of years, the Times Company has responded to a difficult advertising market by becoming a smaller organization and refocusing its spending on projects that are essential to the core brand. The company has shed ancillary assets like The Boston Globe and About.com while launching new digital and international products designed to grow its audience worldwide.
Murphy said the Times will continue to invest in the R&D Lab, which was created in 2006 as a sort of crucible for platform experimentation, but which has also been flagged as a financial burden.
"The Times remains committed to our R&D lab ,where we plan to continue to develop new product prototypes, taking the long view of where media, technology and consumer behavior are headed," she said.