Almost ten years after The New York Times took the risk of introducing a metered paywall for its content, it seems the gamble has paid off after the prestigious US daily reported last week that revenues from digital subscriptions surpassed those from print for the first time in Q3 2020.

In addition, the company said it now has a record seven million subscribers across all its products and that net profit doubled to $33.6m on total revenues of $426.9m.

Coinciding with one of the most intense presidential elections in recent history, The New York Times added 393,000 digital subscribers over the three months to the end of September, bringing the total of paying online readers to more than six million.

Around 4.7 million of them subscribed to the core news product, with the rest paying for the crossword and cooking apps. Meanwhile, some 831,000 readers continued to pay for print subscriptions.

“Our strategy of making journalism worth paying for continues to prove itself out,” said Meredith Kopit Levien, who took over as chief executive in early September after serving in several senior roles since joining the newspaper in 2013.

“The continued demand for quality, original, independent journalism across a range of topics makes us even more optimistic about the size of the total market for digital journalism subscriptions and our position in it,” she added, as she predicted that digital subscriptions would eventually become the NYT’s biggest business.

That would be a sensible move because digital subscriptions accounted for the only growth area for The Times as every other business unit declined, including advertising.

Online subscription revenue rose 34% to $155.3m, but print subscriptions decreased 3.8% to $145.7m, while advertising sales, once the lifeblood of the newspaper business, dropped 30% to $79.3m.

Online advertising declined too, despite the gains in digital readers, The New York Times reported. Digital advertising revenue fell 12.6% to $47.8m, partly because of a decrease in the company’s native content business.

However, with assets of $800m on its books and $250m available through a revolving a credit line, the company may seek to offset these declines by expanding its digital business via acquisitions.

WARC Data clients can access the latest data on The New York Times' performance here.

Sourced from The New York Times