Trying to figure out where the Boston Globe stands in the New York Times Co. firmament is a little like analyzing the ins and outs of the old Soviet Politburo based on their position on the podium during the May Day parade.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but be struck by a story in today’s Times (it also appears in the Globe) reporting that Times content will soon be featured on 850 screens in public places in five cities — including Boston.
The content, according to the story, by Times media reporter Richard Pérez-Peña, will be shown on screens owned by RGM Networks in places such as coffee shops, casual restaurants and newsstands at airports.
Last year, of course, the Times Co. tried to sell the Globe after months of angst, including a threat to shut the paper down, if the paper’s unions wouldn’t agree to $20 million in givebacks. The sale was called off amid reports that neither of the two bidders was willing or perhaps able to come up with sufficient cash.
The Globe remains the Times Co.’s second-biggest paper. So you’d think that the company would avoid doing something that would benefit the Times at the expense of the Globe.
Not to make too much of this. It’s a modest venture, and it’s not as though the Times Co. never promotes its flagship in Boston. But it does play into the notion that, once the economy improves, Arthur Sulzberger and company will put the Globe on the market once again.