Has the NYTimes pay wall paid off?
According to recent figures, NYTimes has 324,000 paid subscribers to the digital edition of its newspaper. In addition, it has 100,000 sponsored subscribers who receive free access sponsored by Ford (I am one of them). Plus, 800,000 print subscribers had linked their accounts to the NYTimes website.
While they did not reveal revenue numbers, it seems that revenue rate from the digital-only subscribers is over $60M (1 year access costs approx $200 although exact fee depends on the devices used to access). I imagine that many of the free subscribers will switch to the paid edition once the 1-year period is over (let’s say 15% will switch). Plus, many of the hybrid subscribers are paying for NYTimes because of the online pay wall. To quote the article, “Print subscriptions continued to increase, the company said, a rise it attributes to the free Web access that accompanies the subscriptions.” Let’s say 10% of these hybrid subscribers are in it because they can’t access the website for free. All this suggests that the net contribution to the top line from adding the pay wall will be over $80M p.a.
Of course, the company lost many subscribers who were accessing the website for free and generating some ad revenue. Overall digital ad revenue for the quarter decreased by 4.5% to $74.8M, although most of that drop is attributed to About.com. So, it does not seem like ad revenues at NYTimes.com were impacted by more than $2M per quarter or $8M p.a. Thus, it seems like the switch to a pay wall has been a big success at NYTimes. The company reported a quarterly profit of $15.7M compared to a loss of $4.3M in the same period last year.
So it seems like t
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