Digital subscriptions at the New York Times rise 20%
The New York Times has given an update on its paywall and overall digital subscription numbers with the number of digital subscription packages, e-readers and replica editions of paper, and the International Herald Tribune, hitting 390,000 at the end of the fourth quarter. That’s up 20%, or by almost 70,000, since the end of the third quarter of 2011.
Including the Boston Globe the New York Times had a total of 406,000 paid digital subscriptions.
However, it also said that print advertising was falling far quicker than digital advertising was rising. Digital ad revenues rose 5.3% percent while print fell by 7.8%.
The news of the rise in the number of digital subscribers comes in the same week that news broke of the Mail Online passing the NYT as the world’s biggest online newspaper.
Although the NYT shot back and said that the Mail was “not in our competitive set”.
As for the search for a new chief executive office, following the surprise departure of Janet Robinson in December, Arthur Sulzberger Jr, chairman and interim chief executive officer, and emphasised that the board were looking for an executive “with digital and brand building experience”. He made no mention of print.
“Our fourth-quarter results demonstrate the continued focus on building The Times’s digital subscription base and developing a new robust consumer revenue stream, while maintaining its significant digital advertising business,” Sulzberger said.
Robison’s departure came swiftly on the heels of the New York Times digital chief Martin Nisenholtz departs.
The numbers come as some speculate at News Rewired today that the New York Times could cease printing within five years. Seems way too soon for me, but interesting speculation.
Tom Standage, dig ed of Economist betting in 5 years NY Times will be in print on Sunday only with digital the rest of the week. #newsrw
— Mr Anderson (@kevglobal) February 3, 2012
Elsewhere within the group there was some progress with paid digital subscribers at the BostonGlobe.com and The Boston Globe’s e-readers and replica editions. Total numbers there were approximately 16,000 as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2011.
“In the second half of the year, our digital initiatives also included the launch of the new pay site, BostonGlobe.com, and digital subscription packages at the International Herald Tribune. As of quarter end, paid subscribers to all of the Company’s digital subscription packages, e-readers and replica editions totalled about 406,000,” Sulzberger said.
“While the economic environment remained challenging during the fourth quarter, the News Media Group saw print advertising trends improve modestly from third-quarter levels. In the fourth quarter, circulation revenues rose 5 percent for the total News Media Group and 8 percent at The New York Times Media Group led by growth in digital subscribers to NYTimes.com.
In addition, the NY Times said that the rate of home-delivery circulation declines moderated at The Times due to an increase in new orders and improved retention following the launch of its digital subscriptions.
Overall the company reported an operating profit of $106.7m in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with $111.6m in the same period of 2010. Excluding depreciation, amortization operating profit increased 3.1 percent to $151m from $146.4m in the fourth quarter of 2010.