'NYT' Paywall Pays Off: 450,000 Subscribers

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One year after it unveiled the digital paywall for The New York Times online, the New York Times Media Group has about 454,000 paying digital subscribers across its various digital products, including the flagship newspaper and the International Herald Tribune.

The New York Times Co. also revealed that beginning in April, it will lower the number of free articles that can be viewed by readers (before having to pay for access) from 20 per month to 10 per month.

At the cheapest subscription rate of $15 per month, the NYT Media Group would have paywall revenues of approximately $6.8 million per month and $81.7 million per year.

However, the actual figures could be higher, as several other subscription plans are available which cost more, including $20 per month for Web access plus an iPad app, and a $35-per-month “all-access” plan. Print subscribers get free access to all digital content.

Earlier this month, Barclays Capital predicted that the NYT’s online paywall could bring in revenues of $100 million per year. Barclays cited a number of additional benefits from the pay wall -- including reduced churn in print subscriptions, as print subscribers can no longer drop their paid subs for free digital access. 

One caveat: Barclays also warned that “the company's digital subscriber gains are difficult to sustain at the present pace and may start tapering over the course of this year.”

To mark the first anniversary of the paywall, the NYT is also offering digital and print subscribers the chance to give a free 12-week subscription to the Web site and the smartphone app to a friend or family member.

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