Most recently it was mainly articles about Donald Trump or the spread of the coronavirus that brought new readers to the “New York Times”. And especially digital customers. Now in the third quarter of 2020, digital sales were greater than analogue for the first time.
Ten years ago, on November 24, 2010, the world-famous newspaper announced that it would be asking for money online for the first time. In March 2011, the paywall was then raised. Since then, the internet business has grown rapidly.
It was a few weeks ago – that News worldNews world looked spellbound at the elections in the USA – when the “New York Times” presented promising figures: it counted 6.9 million current subscriptions by the end of September. More than six million of them in the digital sector – another significant increase. In 2015 it was 1.3 million. Then Donald Trump became president, the newspaper shone with revelations and the number of online readers rose as strongly as the US corona curve on the “New York Times” page recently.
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Managing Director Meredith Kopit Levien stressed that the New York Times didn’t need a single exclusive story or topic to fuel its growth: “Our app this week offered the best real-time view of both the election and the virus – and one too Instructions on how best to distract yourself from both, “she said in early November.
In fact, digital offers beyond the news are becoming increasingly important for the “New York Times”. 1.4 million users have already taken out a subscription with additional services such as cooking tips and crossword puzzles. Both things that have gained in importance during a global pandemic and a lot of time at home. But Corona should soon become a minor issue with functioning vaccines, and the end of Donald Trump’s era is also looming.
It remains to be seen whether the “New York Times” can achieve its ambitious target of ten million subscribers by 2025 without driving core topics. But one thing is certain: the newspaper‘s success is only due to its digital division, because it is the only area that is growing. The more expensive total of around 800,000 print subscriptions – in different versions – and with them the advertising income of the paper newspaper are meanwhile falling steadily.
The influence of the digitalizationdigitalization becomes clear if you look at the total sales of the group. In 2006 this was well over three billion US dollars and by 2012 had fallen by half to 1.59 billion. Since then the “New York Times” has been able to stabilize the volume of business and then increase it bit by bit. In 2019, sales were 1.81 billion.
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In the past few months there was an important change in revenues for the first time: The printed newspaper of the “New York Times” made in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period in the previous year 3.8 percent less revenues with 145.7 million dollars – the revenues rose the digital products but by 34 percent to 155.3 million. In a direct comparison, the content behind the paywall generated more than that in print.
The vigorous online growth with lower margins and advertising revenue must offset the slow decline of the profitable print business. To do this, the readership must continue to grow significantly.
The booming podcast sector should also ensure growth. In 2017 the “New York Times” launched their free daily podcast “The Daily”, in which a topic of the day is explained in 20 to 30 minutes and which is a huge success with more than two million listeners every day. The newspaper wants to build on this with its latest investment: In addition to start-ups, it bought the avant-garde audio company “Serial Productions” for 25 million dollars.
The fate of the classic “New York Times” on paper, which lies rolled up in front of the entrances of New York sandstone houses in the morning, seems to be certain. In August, former CEO Mark Thompson said in an interview with management consultancy McKinsey: “The Times print product is likely to survive into the 2030s.” (dpa / rs)