The NYT Paywall Is Out of the Gate Fast

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…The New York Times itself, revenue actually increased by 0.3 percent from a year ago. Compare that to the previous quarter, when the paper’s revenue slid 2 percent. Year-over-year revenue had been negative for eleven of the previous twelve quarters.

What happened this time? The Times put up a paywall on its website and asked readers to pay for its expensive-to-produce news. [...]The new online subs helped push up the paper’s circulation revenues by 1.6 percent, where they had fallen 2.9 percent in the first quarter.

via CJR.

There Are 5 Comments On This Article.

  1. This is good news for the NYT, but then again, their subscribers feel the content is worth paying for. If other papers hope to see similar trends, they had better be producing similar quality content and making their sites as easy to use and search as the NYT site, otherwise they’ll continue to flounder and fail.

  2. I think it’s dangerous to base any conclusions on short-term revenue reports. Obviously a small profit is better than a big loss at the NYT; but it’s hard to tie that change directly to the success of the paywall. I’m sure the paywall had some impact on revenue/subscriptions, but there are other things happening that could also be influencing the numbers. For one thing the economy is showing some slight signs of an uptick. Are some people feeling a little bit better about the economy — at least enough to make some small luxury expenditures on things like periodical subscriptions, The proliferation of tablet computers also must be influencing the numbers. When you have millions of people with new toys, they’re probably going to subscribe to online services so they can make use of their new tablet. The big question is how many of those subscriptions will be renewed next year and beyond. And let’s not forget the NYT paywall is new, so some people will subscribe to check it out.

    Not trying to be negative here, just saying I think you have to monitor this situation over, say, the next eight quarters to get a feel for acceptance. If the paywall revenue continues to rise then I think some of the conclusions reached in this article might have merit. But I think there is also the potential that we’ll see a short-term jump in revenue which then either flattens out or declines over time. I’m not making a doomsday prediction — just saying it’s too early to make victory declarations. Sustainability of paywalls is a key factor for long-term success and you can’t measure that in one quarter.

  3. I was talking with our kids at a recent family dinner and an interesting comment was made by our son-in-law on the internet and how everything they grew up with on the internet was extemely cheap or they would find a way to get it for free. I think it was a nice notion to provide something of value for without a fee. I thinik it is a bad business model. You couldn’t walk into a restaraunt and serve up a bowl of soup or sandiwch eat it and then walk out without paying, it is not going to happen.

    Good content+Paywalls+consumers=revenue/profit and good business. That is the right business model isn’t it?

  4. The NYT’s paywall is ridiculously easy to get around (delete the question mark and everything following from the URL). I’m curious about how a site of similar size and readership that truly locked the content down would do.