Commentary

Will 'Trump Slump' Undercut The New York Times' Digital Subscription Growth?

President Trump assailed "the failing New York Times" for years, given its unflattering coverage of his candidacy and subsequent years in the White House. The taunts only bolstered support for the newspaper, as paid subscriptions more than doubled from 2.9 million in late 2016 to more than 7 million now.

However, it's oversimplistic to attribute the growth solely to a "Trump Bump" that will fade as soon as the president savors his last departure from the South Lawn on Marine Force One. That’s because the NYT has become much more sophisticated about its marketing efforts, and offers a wide range of content that gives people more reasons to subscribe.

Even if you don't live in the New York City region and follow the newspaper's cultural coverage, which unfortunately has fewer events and performances to cover during the pandemic grind, there's never a shortage of things to read in the NYT.

Stuck at home during this seemingly endless health crisis, my wife and I have read a lot more of the NYT Cooking section for new recipe ideas that will pass muster with our teenage kids. The newspaper markets NYT Cooking and its popular crossword puzzle as a separate subscription, but the best value comes from subscribing to its entire website.

Given the variey of the NYT's coverage, I don't expect there will be an appreciable "Trump Slump."

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While will be hard to find a public figure as polarizing as the current president, most people aren't nursing an addiction to the adrenalin rush that comes with Trump-inspired outrage. They can still follow his Tweeter feed for a daily fix that isn't going to come from listening to the mild-mannered drone of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

Besides, Trump isn't going away completely — he will remain a consequential public figure who invites controversy for years to come. This year's election demonstrated that his following is substantial. Trump will continue to be a reliable newsmaker news outlets can't ignore.
2 comments about "Will 'Trump Slump' Undercut The New York Times' Digital Subscription Growth?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 6, 2020 at 8:52 a.m.

    Makes sense, Rob. Also, The NYT will have plenty of Trump coverage on its plate once he vacates The White House as he will be battling all sorts of Federal and NY State indictments along with some of his henchmen and, likely, some family members will become entangled as well.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 6, 2020 at 5:42 p.m.

    With at least 2 conspiracists in congress, there will be plenty of off the wall garbage going on plus who knows for sure what the rest will be doing, none of going into the good column.

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