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The Almighty Buck The Internet News

NY Times Passes 1M Digital Subscribers 92

HughPickens.com writes: Many news organizations, facing competition from digital outlets, have sharply reduced the size of their newsrooms and their investment in news gathering but less than four-and-a-half years after launching its pay model the NY Times has increased coverage as it announced that the Times has passed one million digital-only subscribers, giving them far more than any other news organization in the world. The Times still employs as many reporters as it did 15 years ago — and its ranks now include graphics editors, developers, video journalists and other digital innovators. "It's a tribute to the hard work and innovation of our marketing, product and technology teams and the continued excellence of our journalism," says CEO Mark Thompson.

According to Ken Doctor the takeaway from the Times success is that readers reward elite global journalism. The Wall Street Journal is close behind the Times, at 900,000, while the FT's digital subscription number stands at 520,000. "These solid numbers form bedrock for the future. For news companies, being national now means being global, and being global means enjoying unprecedented reach," says Doctor. "These audiences of a half-million and more portend more reader revenue to come."
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NY Times Passes 1M Digital Subscribers

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  • Wow! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A million people online who don't understand that deleting your cookies enables you to read as many articles as you want for free.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      ...or just opening NYT in a private window.
      • or mangle the url

        when i get back a nytimes.com page that is paywalled i go to the url and i

        1. chop off the nytimes.com domain upfront
        2. chop off the trailing querystring
        3. hit enter, you get a google result, the first link always being the story you want
        4. follow that link

        the referer is now sanitized

        so you get the article. you even stay logged in

    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by harshath.jr ( 1293242 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @10:13AM (#50670163)
      Perhaps a subset of that million just believes in "paying it back" to the journalistic institutions of their communities. Just saying. Full disclosure: I'm not a subscriber to any digital publication.
      • Perhaps a subset of that million just believes in "paying it back" to the journalistic institutions of their communities. Just saying.

        That's what convinced me to subscribe. I signed up when I realized I was paying about the same per year to my local public radio station, and that it was a quite reasonable price to support the times.

        I was probably one of their earliest digital only subscribers - way back I used to get the sunday times and sit around all morning with coffee and a baguette to read it. I stopped getting LA times delivered to my door because I didn't want the paper accumulating.

        • I used to get the sunday times and sit around all morning with coffee and a baguette to read it. I stopped getting LA times delivered to my door because I didn't want the paper accumulating.

          I've been trying for the past 2 months to find a decent baguette in LA. It's just not a bread town. Suggestions?

      • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @10:28AM (#50670271)

        I suspect it's more like supporting their own view of the world. People who subscribe to NYT or WSJ want news with the editorial spin from those sources to be widely distributed. Same with people who donate to and support congressional funding for NPR.

        • Of course. I don't much listen to Rush Limbaugh because he never says anything remotely sensible. We all pick and choose. The NYT has a distinct and disturbing liberal bias at times but they do manage to actually create news by good reporting. That's rather rare these days.

        • Not just the editorial spin. News outlets -- almost all news outlets,as well as places like Facebook -- spin content (at least) five additional ways.

          First, simply by the choice of what they cover. I think that's fairly obvious, but I'll elaborate if it turns out not to be.

          Second, by how they cover it. Some examples:

          o Giving "equal consideration" to the ridiculous and absurd, such as anti-vaxxing, often anecdote-driven
          o The opposite: Ignoring valid viewpoints (presuming the viewpoint of the paper/author is p

    • Wow what an ahole (Score:4, Interesting)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @01:24PM (#50671695)

      Just because you can sneak into the theater doesn't mean you should. Sure if you need a quick peak inside the tent I would imagine NY times is happy to have you interested in their added value news products. They do have a fairly reasonable policy of 10 free articles per month. And in doing that they leave themselves open to the work around you suggest. Would you recommend they discontinue that nice porous paywall because of cretons like you? The good news for them is you are not really their customer and you still get to see their advertisements while you gloat over your cleverness.

      • by GTRacer ( 234395 )

        The good news for them is you are not really their customer and you still get to see their advertisements while you gloat over your cleverness.

        Do you honestly think the sort of person who is playing the system this way *isn't* running an adblocker/Noscript?

    • Or who don't mind paying $3/week for unlimited access and to support quality journalism..

  • Altogether too many people want everything exactly the way it was, and always should be, and will even employ cognitive dissonance to make believe they are on the right track.

    Then they go away.

    • I am still searching for the news-media that tell me what I should know, and not what market-analasys and google-analytics-click-counting thinks I want.
  • People actually pay money for NYT? Ouch.
  • Overblown (Score:4, Interesting)

    by opusbuddy ( 164089 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @09:53AM (#50669983) Homepage

    I am one of one million, and a long-time reader of NY Times. Frankly, I think this is a little over blown and I sure hope they don't hurt themselves patting themselves on the back. I read the NYT mobile edition daily, enabled by my subscription to the Sunday paper home delivery. The Business and Technology sections have the same content listed for weeks on end. They suffered greatly when David Pogue left. Much of the "paid" subscription content is just blog postings. Better than most blogs, written by intelligent journalists, but blog postings none-the-less.

    And about once a week (at least), you get a nasty full screen popover. Their recent coverage about the cost/benefit of ad blocking shows their pages are heavy, which gets annoying and uses bandwidth if you don't hit reader view really fast or use an ad blocker.

    I love the New York Times, but have never been happy with their IT department. Will never, ever, ever use the mobile app they keep trying to get me to download. Burned too many times on that one.

    • And this is why I dropped my subscription. NYT digital is totally clueless. I can have a better experience with the shields up.

      I have written to them a number of times suggesting that they lighten up, give their subscribers some actual benefit. Nobody ever listens to me except my dog and he's just waiting for a walk.

      • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

        Nobody ever listens to me except my dog and he's just waiting for a walk.

        I'm guessing your dog is cold and wet. :)

  • by timholman ( 71886 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @09:54AM (#50669997)

    I'm an NY Times digital subscriber, for two reasons. First, subscription costs are dirt cheap for people in academia. Second, the NY Times is one of the few remaining news services in the USA that practices investigative journalism any more. I may not always agree with the NY Times' "slant" on a particular story, but at least there is some real content to what they publish.

    Our local newspaper is your typical Gannett mess, with the only real "news" being the USA Today insert. The local news is little more than thinly-disguised opinion pieces, local crime reports with minimal information, and articles that rightfully belong on a Gawker site or in People magazine. My wife and I dropped our remaining weekend subscription to the local paper months ago, and we haven't missed it since.

    • NYT is also one of the few organizations left who have an ombudsman, Margaret Sullivan (called their "Public Editor") to keep them honest and hold the editor's feet to the fire (and she does!).

    • "NY Times is one of the few remaining news services in the USA that practices investigative journalism any more."

      Personally I think that the Washington Post is the best mainstream investigative journalism in the USA. I gave up on NYT a long time ago. Maybe now they aren't as bad as I remember.
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      with the only real "news" being the USA Today insert.

      You're kidding, right? USAToday is among the most biased out there.

  • Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trybywrench ( 584843 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @09:59AM (#50670041)
    Good for them, they've adapted, changed, and are pulling ahead. I remember when the pay-wall decision was made, they were one of the first to do it and it was an incredibly controversial and risky proposition "why would someone pay when Google News is free?". Everyone was very nervous and there were lots of naysayers but looks like they're figuring it out. Hats off and rock on.
    • Pulling ahead?

      Hmm, 1M digital subscribers...New York's population in north of 8M. So maybe 12.5% of New York's population has signed up. At most. Assuming every digital subscriber is in NYC.

      Now, assuming that every one of those digital subscribers is an out-of-towner who had never subscribed before, they've probably added a good 20% to their subscriber base in, oh, 20 years or so. Hardly an example of massive success....

      • Re:Good for them! (Score:4, Informative)

        by bitingduck ( 810730 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @10:26AM (#50670247) Homepage

        Hmm, 1M digital subscribers...New York's population in north of 8M. So maybe 12.5% of New York's population has signed up. At most. Assuming every digital subscriber is in NYC.

        The locals buy a paper copy at the bodega on their block.

        Digital is for those of us outside the local area who want a comprehensive news source that they have reasonably well calibrated. All news sources are biased, but the big ones are at least reasonably consistent about it.

        • All news sources are biased, but the big ones are at least reasonably consistent about it.

          That is a significant insight. Pulls quite a few truths, and implied consequences of those truths, together in one pithy remark. Kudos, sir. :)

        • I live in Manhattan, digital here. Why waste paper and pay for a slower, less interactive medium?

      • "Pulling ahead?"

        Pulling ahead of their competition in paid digital subscribers? Yes, yes they are. Keep up cupcake.
      • Most 21st century newspapers would kill for a circulation of 12.5% of their population. Los Angeles Times, for example, is about 5%.

        Nobody's saying that the New York Times is a massive success, but it is turning a profit [nytimes.com].

        • But for the NYT, it's not just the New York population. It's the population of the English speaking upper crust. Lot's more than 12 million. That's why the one million number is pretty weak.

          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            But for the NYT, it's not just the New York population. It's the population of the English speaking upper crust. Lot's more than 12 million. That's why the one million number is pretty weak.

            This is digital ONLY subscriptions.

            You do realize the NYT is also available in regular deadtree format, right? And it's extremely popular in that format, well exceeding digital.

            Personally, I prefer the deadtree. I don't need up to the minute coverage, and the deadtree means when I sit down to read it (on my commute), I g

    • "why would someone pay when Google News is free?"

      Why indeed, when /. readers rather discuss about semantics of piracy and theft, than financially reward someone's hard work.

  • Between CNN and Flipboard, I can read lots of news for free, then subscribe to both HBO and Netflix for same money to get much more varied entertainment. These must be loyal long term subscribers who switched from paper to digital. A healthy price point is around $99/year, where people can view subscription is a reasonable infrequent expense.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      CNN is NOT news. It is entertainment. That is a significant difference.

    • by schnell ( 163007 )

      Between CNN and Flipboard, I can read lots of news for free

      People don't go to the NY Times for the same news they can read on CNN etc. (I say this as one of the million digital NYT customers referenced in the article). CNN and free news aggregators tend to just republish stories they licensed from the Associated Press or UPI. (True fact: you can be a "news site" without having a single reporter, just pay your AP license and publish recycled content all day long! viz. Breitbart)

      "Premium" news outlets like NY Times, Wall Street Journal, FT, Economist, Washington Post

  • by jomama717 ( 779243 ) <jomama717@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @10:11AM (#50670131) Journal
    Whoever they have over there that is responsible for designing and implementing their online crossword page/apps is a genius. If you told me 10 years ago that I would enjoy doing crosswords on a cell phone I would have laughed, but they pulled it off. It's the only reason I subscribe - and the actual news/opinion is a very nice add-on feature :)

  • Sure they must be happy...is it anywhere near what their paper figures use to be?

    Once upon a time someone would buy a paper, read it and leave it on the train and someone else would have a glimpse of what the fuss is about...maybe they'd pay too if they wanted.

    Before this slashdot article I had forgotten the NYT existed...
  • by trevc ( 1471197 )
    BBC is my main news source - I do not like the USA style of journalism.
  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @10:51AM (#50670407)

    You should pay for some sort of news outlet. New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, I don't care which: you need to make sure that the place you're getting your information from is beholden to its readers, not just to its advertisers and owners. You know the old saying: if you're not paying for it, you're not the customer, you're the product.

  • I know my college offers a "free" digital subscription to NYT's. I wonder if they're counting the ones that they give out to schools? I know that's how I get mine...and my college not an ivy league or anything. I would be curious to see how many of the 1 million are paid subscriptions...
  • So thats 1048576 in decimal

  • by Anonymous Coward

    NYT and other mainstream USA news sources are the propaganda arm of the USA government. Noam Chomsky documented their excessive pro-government nonsense in "Manufacturing Consent" and nothing has changed in the decades since. They're more than happy to publish article after article citing anonymous "high ranking" officials in the government and treating the info as the gospel. They simply publish the stories based on info they get from their unnamed sources in government without the slightest hint of skep

    • They're more than happy to publish article after article citing anonymous "high ranking" officials...

      And yet here you are posting as AC. You're probably too stupid to realise how ridiculous your post is...

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