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The Media Advertising The Almighty Buck

Paywalled NYT Now Has 300,000 Online Subscribers 179

Posted by timothy
from the hopefully-you-won't-have-to-log-in dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It looks like the derided-on-slashdot paywall for the NY Times hasn't brought down the paper so far. The Times now reports 300,000 digital subscribers (to e-reader versions and the web combined) and digital advertising revenue for the part of the company that includes the paper has increased 6% this quarter."
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Paywalled NYT Now Has 300,000 Online Subscribers

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  • Ipad owners :)
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Kindle owners?

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        I will say, having the International Herald on mine is freakin' handy.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Why do you want something that, by it's very nature, is substantial out f date by the time you get to it?

          Which is fine, I'm just curious.

          • Re:probably (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Tyler Eaves (344284) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:29PM (#37781406)

            Real news coverage is about depth much more than timeliness. I'd much rather have in-depth analysis of say, a proposed law, in a week or two than fluff in 6 hours.

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            I find myself much more likely to take a look at international news when it's "physically" available to me. I don't seem to do so when I'm sitting at a computer, even though I could do so more easily, for free, and in a more timely manner.

            Not sure why.

          • It's interesting to read magazines like The Economist six months or so after they're published. You quickly get a feel for what's worth getting curious, outraged, or excited about, and what's not. Anything that's still important and relevant after six months is worth further consideration.

            Obviously that approach doesn't scale all the way down to local news media, unless you want to wake up to the sound of bulldozers in your front yard. But on a national/international level, it saves a lot of time and ang

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I got it for free on my ipad

      • Re:probably (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anomalyst (742352) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:44PM (#37781698)

        I got it for free on my ipad

        No, you didn't. It was paid for by the outrageous markup you turned your head and coughed up for having PHB decide what you can and cannot run on hardware for which you were way overcharged.

        • by Pieroxy (222434)

          I got it for free on my ipad

          No, you didn't. It was paid for by the outrageous markup you turned your head and coughed up for having PHB decide what you can and cannot run on hardware for which you were way overcharged.

          Why all the hate?

        • You might notice that the truth of that statement does not dispute the argument that the number of subscribers is inflated by those who were not given the choice of declining the subscription in exchange for a price reduction on the iPad.

          • by DinDaddy (1168147)

            Have any relevant information at all that the free NYT app and the price of the ipad have any connection whatsoever?

            • I don't see how that changes it either. The question is not whether the price of the iPad would have been less without the subscription. The question is whether the iPad users would have bought the subscription if it had an additional cost, as distinguished from buying an iPad and receiving a subscription they would not otherwise have paid for.

              Put it a different way: If every iPad user gets a "paid" subscription but without paying additional money, you aren't measuring the number of paid subscriptions, you'

  • this just in! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Desler (1608317)

    This just in: Slashdot is often wrong about things like this. The same way neither the iPhone or iPad failed.

    • by abigor (540274)

      Slashdot's resident pundits are pretty much wrong about everything technology-related. It's pretty hilarious to compare this place to something like Hacker News.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Confirmation bias, you have it.

        Many people said it would work as well.

      • Re:this just in! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Hijacked Public (999535) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:31PM (#37781424)

        Slashdot overall actually has about every opinion possible. Some of the most loved (ie - highly moderated) opinions turn out to be as wrong as they could possibly be.

        Consider this gem [slashdot.org], particularly "If Apple enters that market with a phone, they're fucked". Fucked with finding warehouse space to store pallets of money, as it turns out.

        Though there were plenty of opinions contrary to that one the groupthink doesn't often push them to the top.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          +5 "Interesting" is how it's supposed to go for things like that. Remember, there's no +1 Agree / -1 Disagree. I'd say that mod was right on-target. Interesting thoughts that turned out to be wrong. They're still wrong, but they're still interesting.
  • Yet another story that shows that a /. reader/commenter does not represent the typical customer of a major news outlet.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Yet another story that shows that a /. reader/commenter does not represent the typical customer of a major news outlet.

      Care to back that up with some facts?

      Aside the few clowns on /. it is a highly literate audience - which is what the NYT caters to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by bberens (965711)
        Highly literate audience with disposable income for things like ipads/nooks/whatever.
        • by ackthpt (218170)

          Highly literate audience with disposable income for things like ipads/nooks/whatever.

          And coffee. Don't forget coffee.

          and the coffee maker is about 12 feet from my desk.

          • I get the distinct impression that the generic Slashdot user doesn't want to pay for anything. They should be able to make most objects out of recycled Linksys routers and old televisions with a pair of pliers and a soldering iron given to them by their father in fifth grade. Clothes are recycled from various dumpsters or Goodwill stores. Coffee comes from... well, you don't want to know that.

      • by LibRT (1966204)
        Good point, and I suspect most /. readers further realize that you can bypass the paywall by entering the site via google, including via rss feeds of stories in google reader.
  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:48PM (#37780566) Homepage Journal

    Keep in mind that every print subscriber gets a free top-of-the-line digital subscription. Its actually cheaper to get the paper edition and recycle it then it is to just get the online, in fact, which is annoyingly stupid.

    • Keep in mind that every print subscriber gets a free top-of-the-line digital subscription. Its actually cheaper to get the paper edition and recycle it then it is to just get the online, in fact, which is annoyingly stupid.

      Subscription prices for my local paper follow that same model, actually. It is silly - I save a few bucks a month over a digital-only subscription by subscribing to the weekend (Friday through Sunday) print editions, which comes with free access to their everyday digital edition.

      The digital edition sucks, and was obviously designed by people who only understand print... but that's another matter.

      • by Talderas (1212466)

        It has to do with the fact that they're getting twice the advertising revenue out of you if you get the paper version and don't both reading the paper.

        They get paid for the ads in the paper that you do read and paid for the ads embedded on the online pages you do read.

        • Exactly: the big "problem" with online advertising is that it can be tracked, and so it's obvious that people mostly ignore it. So it exposes advertising as much less valuable than it has been presented as before.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just because it's not true, don't let that get in the way of your stupid comment:

      https://www.nytimesathome.com/hd/101/form/

      Daily Delivery (7 Days) – $5.85 per week More Details
      The Weekender (Friday–Sunday) – $3.80 per week More Details
      Saturday–Sunday – $3.15 per week More Details
      Weekday (Monday–Friday) – $3.10 per week More Details

      Home delivery subscribers get free digital access to NYTimes.com **
      and the NYTimes smartp

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Hmm, neither am I but 3.10 * 4 seems to work out to less than $15. I thought all home delivery folks got free 7 day digital subscriptions.

      • by rjstanford (69735)

        Just because it's not true, don't let that get in the way of your stupid comment:

        ...

        Weekday (Monday–Friday) – $3.10 per week More Details

        Home delivery subscribers get free digital access to NYTimes.com **
        and the NYTimes smartphone and tablet apps.
        Plus, home delivery subscribers can share their digital access with a family member
        at no additional charge.

        I pay $15/month for digital access 7 days a week.. I'm no math major, but last time I checked 4 * $5.85 > $15

        Yup. However, 4 * $3.10 < $15. But than you for playing.

      • by Talderas (1212466) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:18PM (#37781210)

        Unless of course getting the Sat/Sun or Mon-Fri editions and you get the online subscription as well.

        In which case $15 > $3.15 * 4 or $15 > $3.10

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        Home delivery subscribers get free digital access to NYTimes.com **
        I pay $15/month for digital access 7 days a week.. I'm no math major, but last time I checked 4 * $5.85 > $15

        You are confusing "home delivery" with "daily delivery." Whether you are right in practice, the site quoted indicates that $3.10 per week will get you digital access for less than the price you pay for digital access.

    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by flooey (695860) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:15PM (#37781148)

      Keep in mind that every print subscriber gets a free top-of-the-line digital subscription. Its actually cheaper to get the paper edition and recycle it then it is to just get the online, in fact, which is annoyingly stupid.

      Stupid, but economically sensible given the environment. Print advertising rates are set based on circulation, so simply sending a paper to someone earns money for the Times, whether they read it or not. If you assume that (advertising income per paper subscriber) - (cost of printing a paper) > (web subscription cost) - (paper subscription cost), the Times makes more money when you sign up for the cheaper paper edition than when you sign up for online only.

    • You have to understand their revenue model. They make money delivering you that paper. More home delivery subscribers = higher ad rates.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by poemofatic (322501) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:42PM (#37781646)

      This is easy to explain from a business point of view, although difficult to explain from a logical point of view.

      Print eyeballs are about 10 times more valuable [publishing2.com] than digital eyeballs.

      Therefore the main concern is expanding print subscribers.

      One way to do that is to offer digital previews that are effectively teasers to entice users to get the print edition. In order to ensure that you get the print edition, and not the digital edition, they charge more for digital alone than for digital + print. Note that the NYT has no problem if you only access their content online. There are no "print monitors" that track which printed articles have been read. As far as the NYT is concerned, you can burn the print paper as soon as it hits your door, as they will get paid by the subscription numbers. So the NYT has a single goal -- to sell more print editions, but the consumers of the NYT want the easiest access to NYT times data, which may be online. The solution is to require the purchase of a print edition in order to access the data online, and to discourage customers from only accessing the data online.

      Underlying all of this is a very broken business model on the part of the paper as well as on the part of advertising companies. We have much more data about online advertising than other forms of advertising, and this data describes how ineffective digital advertising is. But instead of assuming that this applies to all forms of advertising, through sheer inertia, advertisers have determined that this is an odd quirk of online advertising only, which means all other forms of advertising, for which we have less reliable data, continue to be able to command a premium over online advertising.

      All of this is a detriment to the development of rich content online sites, and a subsidy to tree and television based sites.

      By the way, Hulu faces the same problem with obtaining add revenues for shows online versus the add revenues that networks can charge. This is why the networks would rather you watch a show on television than watch the same show online. They use the online shows as a teaser or advertisement for the on-air shows, doing things such as delaying programs or limiting the availability of programs while giving the online audience a sample of their content.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      If you are thinking that a lot of the 300k website subscribers are actually print subscribers getting the website for free, then you are mistaken. The NYT has a circulation of 900k, so that figure obviously can't be included among the 300k.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      I know that THIS. IS. SLASHDOT, but the article is quite clear that the number explicitly excludes the print subscribers, and indeed another 100,000 etards who get a freebie via Ford. It does seem to be 324,000 actual digital-only subscribers.
  • Compared to even obscure little slashdot.

    Honestly, they should be over 1,000,000 already if they were to be as successful as they claimed to be. and how much you want to bet they are counting the paper subscribers that logged in to set up their online account, so the real number is far lower.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      They aren't. There are 800,000 people who've done that. The 300,000 are just digital subscribers.
    • by AdamJS (2466928)
      I'd be willing to assume the majority of Slashdot accounts don't even sign in once a year.
      • by Jeng (926980)

        And I assume that the majority of the traffic that goes though /. hasn't actually signed up at all. Far more visitors than accounts.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Compared to even obscure little slashdot.

      The New York Times, like The Economist or The Wall Street Journal, is considered a must-read for the professional, the decision-maker. Slashdot is light entertainment.

  • Taco and the iPod (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AdamJS (2466928) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:52PM (#37780662)
    Anywho, I can access NYT articles with no problem from both work and home. Am I missing something here?
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Am I missing something here?

      Ads, most likely. Adblock (in Opera at least and I think Firefox too) seems to allow you to go right through the paywall (although it did block me twice. Weird.)

    • by nairnr (314138)
      Most of the content is accessible, but they count how many articles you read in a month. If you go over you need to be a subscriber.
    • You're part of the 300,000, you just haven't noticed it yet. The NYT gives away bulk subscription at pennies on the dollar to some of its media-partners. The media-partner gives you a cookie, so you can access the article they link you to. It's a win/win scenario for everyone involved.

      You're oblivious to the whole thing and you still get your free content. And the NYT still gets to claim high "paid" subscription numbers to brag about to its advertisers. The only losers are potentially the uninformed adverti

  • Is 300k subscribers good? What percentage of total online readers is that? Also, sure, a 6% increase in digital advertising revenue is good, in that any increase is good. But what sort of increase did comparable websites see?
    • by heptapod (243146)

      C/P from Alexa

      Statistics Summary for nytimes.com

      Nytimes.com is ranked #87 in the world according to the three-month Alexa traffic rankings. Approximately 12% of visits to it are referred by search engines, and the site has been online since 1994. Nytimes.com is located in the US. Visitors to the site spend approximately 80 seconds on each pageview and a total of five minutes on the site during each visit. Ranked 29 in the USA. 325,546 sites linking into the New York Times's website.

  • Over all, I think they've handling this well. I just wish they would display the number of views remaining where it greats me every day with the phrase "Welcome, ohsupremeleader".

    Actually, my NYT user name is from the Slartibartfast school of almost filthy. Refer to someone that way in the joint, they'd carry you out in a box. It combines the adolescent directness of fartface with the oozitude of sloppy seconds. I guess I was none too thrilled about the mandatory sign-up.

    But honestly, they have pretty

  • by Aereus (1042228) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:01PM (#37780864)

    I'm glad to see the NY Times is able to make some good revenue off their site, but this probably only works for the larger papers.

    Large influential papers like the NY Times and Wall St. Journal have a certain level of clout and original content that people are willing to pay for. It's highly unlikely that your local newspaper is going to make any reasonable amount of money off of creating a paywall. Most local papers feature largely wire stories you can find online from thousands of other papers. More circumstantial -- but it's also been my observation that the "younger generations" increasingly don't care about local interest stories or Prep Sports that may be in the local papers -- which is usually the only original content they offer.

    So in the long run, I can see this saving a handful of the largest national papers, but I feel most local papers will be in even more trouble in the future.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    LOL. All you have to do to get around the pay wall is to delete the cookie they send over or just block it using no-script. Works like a charm every time. I will not pay for something they make obviously simple to get around.

  • I wonder how effective these paywalls would be if more people realized you can simply clear your cookies to bypass it.

  • It is a payrope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MLCT (1148749) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:09PM (#37781024)
    It isn't a paywall, it is a payrope. You can just wander right over it (without any underhand tactics). I have been a reader before and after (5-10 articles per day) and have not noticed any difference. I don't know what the article cut-off is, but unless you plan to read the thing cover-to-cover every day you aren't going to notice. I suspect a lot of the 300k subscriptions come from ipads and kindles, because I can't see how it would be easy to get value for money from a PC subscription.

    Paywalls block all content, and are flawed (and are what the /. crowd say will fail). The NYT payrope is a sensible hybrid model, that finds enough people (willing or stupid depending on your prerogative) to pay, while the rest go free. Now if we get figures on The Times of London's subscriber figures (blanket solid paywall) then I suspect they would be a lot more in-keeping with the /. predictions.
    • by Lucidus (681639)

      The NYT allows me 20 free articles a month, so your numbers are suspect.

      However, that limit does not include articles linked from, for example, Google News or any Google search. Which makes it fairly easy to get around.

      • by MLCT (1148749)
        Not suspect I'm afraid, the truth. I click through google reader (I don't know if they count that), and I have noscript and cookieculler extensions installed.

        I have never once seen any NYT paywall page - but yet ironically do run into a WP "register to see more" pages every now and then which is killed by clearing cookies (which for me with cookieculler is just closing and reopening the browser).

        Either way, as you intimate, NYT are not making it impossible, or even difficult, to see their content for
  • I was surprised to find out that they still show advertising to paid subscribers, in particular annoying Flash based advertising.

    Luckily there is Adblock.

    • I was surprised to find out that they still show advertising to paid subscribers, in particular annoying Flash based advertising.

      And this is surprising ....... why? Perhaps you have never read an actual newspaper, which is not free, and contains lots of advertising.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        The costs barley cover wha it take to get the newspaper to you.

        If you remove the delivery charge and printing costs, you would think it would be free w/ Advertising, or cost with no/ advertising. Not both.

        Plus my newspapers ads don't move, flash, bing , ding, blink or honk.

        • by gknoy (899301)

          They still need to pay for the creation / layout of the content, even if printing/distribution costs are near zero. I wonder how those costs break down.

  • I have struggled mightily to resist paying the high rate and absurd model (pay more for access on the ipad? Seriously?) that the Times charges. I've tried to find other news sources that compare in depth, editorial insight, and quality independent reporting. Everything I've used to date has been half as good at best. I haven't caved yet, but I can see it coming on the horizon...
  • Good grief. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cornface (900179) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:32PM (#37781460)

    Nobody on slashdot would care about stupid paywall sites if you would do the most basic of editing tasks and stop linking to them.

  • This is NY times.

    The article says they don't included the 100,000 Ford Motor gave away for free. Nor does that number included the 800,00 paper delivery people that got it for free. Considering that they about 35 million homes get paper deliver, that means over 34 million people get the paper delivery and REFUSED the electronic one.

    OK, so 900,000 people got it for free and 324,000 people to actually buy? Out of a potential market of 35 million people? If you give away 9 to get 3 people out of every 350

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      Did you just pull those numbers out of your ass or what? According to their annual report their average daily circulation (home delivery and news stand) is about 900,000. Where did you get that ridiculous 35 million number from?

      I am quite sure that the NYT, unlike you, know what success is. Success is being able to keep the paper operating, and hopefully make a profit.

  • They are no doubt bolstering that number with a limited time promotion.

    For years I accessed their content on the iPhone and web. Their content is first class but then they demanded $45/month for all devices (including iPad). I found other avenues - no big deal. I did miss it on the iApple devices but nothing earth shattering.

    Then, a couple of weeks ago, they advertised $0.99 for full access for two months. Not bad, I think their content is good enough I would pay something for it, but as the old joke go

  • by MoldySpore (1280634) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:30PM (#37782446)
    ...are idiots.
    • by Mathieu Lutfy (69)

      Can you elaborate why?

      The way I see it, either you're the client, since you are paying a subscription, or the advertisers are the client, in which case you are just a product sold to advertisers.

      I gladly pay my 15$/month to my local newspaper. It helps to guarantee their editorial independence, which is why I read their newspaper.

      Otherwise, please elaborate on how we could be non-idiotic and have alternative business models. The only one that comes to mind is citizen journalism, such as Indymedia, which I v

      • First of all, really? A Newspaper? By the time you read that, the news is a day old. Hate to break it to you, but newspapers are going the way of the 8-track and the floppy disk...and the stone tablet. Why pay for hard copy when you have up to the minute news for free from any outlet you can think of online 24/7? Why kill more trees and waste more resources to print crappy newspapers when the information is available online already? Secondly, same goes for paying for news online. Until there is a pay-wall i
        • by Mathieu Lutfy (69)

          Thanks for clarifying. You state valid and interesting points. I agree that paper is deprecated, by "newspaper" I meant news site or whatever, in reference to your 300 000 idiots.

          With regards to your second point, I pay to support journalistic independence and editorial integrity. I don't have time to read the news every minute. I take around 15 minutes to read the news in the morning from 5 websites (1 is my local newspaper, the others are a mix of Canadian, British and French). I also like to listen to th

  • by RexDevious (321791) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:41PM (#37782690) Homepage Journal

    Just use Safari's "Reader" function. It extracts the actual article from behind the paywall overlay and makes it easily readable. I don't know how long they'll leave that vulnerability there though, so enjoy it while it lasts.

  • 300k people don't know how to delete cookies.
    • by Y-Crate (540566)

      300k people don't know how to delete cookies.

      300K people actually want to pay for quality content. You can't send reporters all over the world, and have offices in other countries, or even pay professional reporters living wages with the revenue from banner ads alone.

  • to cover the 1%, doesn't it?

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