Home A Month In, New York Times Paywall has 100K Subscribers

A Month In, New York Times Paywall has 100K Subscribers

Since instituting its metered paywall in late March, The New York Times has 100,000 paid subscribers to it website, according to a Times’ article on its own earnings statement.

The number does not include print subscribers, who get access to unlimited articles on the website, or promotional launch offers, according to a tweet from Times’ senior VP of corporate communications, Robert Christie. The article states, “For the first time, the Times Company provided information on how digital subscriptions were faring. The company said that since it started limiting the number of articles readers could read on NYTimes.com for free, it has signed up more than 100,000 subscribers. While it said the program was still too young to judge a success, ‘early indicators are encouraging.'”

Currently, Times readers can access 20 stories a month for free on NYTimes.com before hitting the paywall. There are exceptions to what counts as a “click”; stories accessed through Facebook, for example, are not counted as a clicked story.

Media market watcher paidContent put the subscription number into context. The Times of London instituted a paywall last year and after eight months had 79,000 subscribers. But overall, it lost 90% of its online readership according to The Guardian. The Financial Times instituted a paywall in June, 2010 and has 224,000 paid digital subscribers.

So, for being a month in, 100,000 subscribers does not look that bad for The New York Times. Revenue on those subscribers could reach as high as $20 million, depending on the type of subscription an individual signed up for. Considering the newspaper spent between $25 million and $40 million (depending on who you believe) on creating the paywall, it looks like a decent return on investment in the early going.

“In mid-March, we introduced Times digital subscription packages in Canada and globally at the beginning of the second quarter, and we are pleased with the number of subscribers we have acquired to date, as initial volume has meaningfully exceeded our expectations,” said said Janet L. Robinson, president and CEO, according to Yahoo Finance.

As paidContent points out, there are still a number of variables to consider when looking at the number of paid Times subscribers. What happens when the promotional period ends and rates go up? What about plans on different devices? There are a variety of plans users can subscribe to such as iPad-only or Web-only. We might not know the answers to those questions until later this year when we see more subscription numbers from the Times.

Disclaimer: ReadWriteWeb and The New York Times are syndication partners.

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