When The New York Times announced its digital subscription model in March 2011, it was considered a bold move by many industry experts. The question was: would people really be willing to spend money on digital content that they were used to getting for free? As it turns out, the answer was a resounding yes.
Nine and a half years after the introduction of its metered paywall, the Times announced a new milestone today, as digital subscription revenue surpassed revenue from print subscribers for the first time in the quarter that ended September 30. Moreover, the company passed a total of 7 million subscribers across all products for the first time, with digital news subscriptions climbing to 4.69 million by the end of September. “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,” Meredith Kopit Levien, who took over as chief executive of the New York Times Company in September, said in a statement.
Interestingly, the Times saw a significant uptick in digital subscriptions after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016. Despite Trump’s repeated criticism of the country’s leading newspaper, the Times added roughly three million digital subscribers over the course of his presidency.