According to figures released by the New York Times Company, controversial premium service TimesSelect has at least 135,000 paying subscribers and roughly another 135,000-plus who have signed up as an add-on to their print subscriptions. The conversion rate from the 14-day free trials continues to be more than 90 percent. As for the revenue from those paying subs, more than 20,000 online-only subs signed up during the pre-launch $39.95 offer; the rest should be at $49.95 a year or $7.95 a month. I have a couple of questions that need to be answered before I can try to convert the numbers into real money.
Update: The pre-launch numbers do not include the 15,000 transfers from News Tracker; they are included in the online-only total, which would put the number opting directly for TimesSelect at about 120,000.
The company has released some traffic data but it doesn’t match the period since TimesSelect’s launch. The site had 21.3 million unique visitors worldwide, up 49 percent the previous September and attributable primarily to hurricane coverage. During the month, NYTimes.com had 561 million page views, up 17 percent over September ’04. You’d think the page views would go up more in line with the uniques.
Some editorial notes: — The site continues to build on the exclusivity idea with outside contributors. Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi is guesting for TimesSelect exclusively during November, producing online-only political cartoons.
– For the people who saw something negative in Maureen Dowd’s lack of a personal touch on TimesSelect at launch, a cynical take — maybe she was waiting for her new book launch and a chance to stand out from the crowd. Her q-and-a (sub. only) just happens to be about her magazine piece which just happens to be an excerpt from that new book.
Press release. (Note: I’ve changed the headline on this a couple of times to reflect more accurate timing. Unlike other NYTCO numbers released today, these literally go through the time of announcement, not the end of October.)