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Summary:

For those tracking the success of the NYTimes.com (NYSE: NYT) meter that started ticking in March, the New York Times says it ended the seco…

NYT paywall on NYTimes.com
photo: NYT

For those tracking the success of the NYTimes.com (NYSE: NYT) meter that started ticking in March, the New York Times says it ended the second quarter with more than 1 million digital subscribers.

Most of those — about 750,000 (756,000 to be exact) — are print subscribers who have taken advantage of the digital access offer. Another 224,000 approximately are paid digital subscribers — roughly doubling the 100,000-plus the company reported in the first three weeks.

Digital replica (e-edition) and e-reader/ subs add roughly 57,000, making that a total of 281,000 paid. Another 100,000 or so have digital subs with costs covered by a sponsorship from Ford’s Lincoln brand.

How much does that mean in revenue? Aye, there’s the rub. Short of the company actually providing the details, it’s impossible to gauge accurately. Digital subscriptions are offered for a variety of promotional and standard prices, by the month and the year, and in different access packages. Some people have subscribed to print versions that offer access for less than digital alone would cost, which adds to print circulation revenue and counts up as home-delivery subs for digital.

About the safest thing I can say is the 57,000 e-reader and replica subs represent roughly $1.1 million in revenue a month at $20/per.

The results drew bittersweet congratulations on Twitter from Vivian Schiller, GM at NYTimes.com the last time the Times tried a digital paywall with TimesSelect: “224k paying NYTimes.com subs in 6 months equal to TimesSelect subs after nearly 3 years. Better value prop — paying off. Congrats @nytimes!”

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Questions I wish analysts would ask on today’s call:

– What kind of conversion rate are you seeing from promotional pricing?

– Are monthly subscribers churning? At what rate?

– What level of digital access is most popular?

More to come

  1. Aye… indeed! The conventional wisdom that “people hate to be dimed and nickled,” as Clay Shirky used to say, failed again. After all, people are willing to support good quality content.

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