NYT Fills in Subscriber Blanks With Boston Ads for Crosswords

The New York Times has done two remarkable things over the past five years: 1) shifted from an advertising-driven revenue model to a subscription-based one; and 2) shifted from media outlet largely reliant on print revenues to a majority-digital company.

And it’s almost there, as the Times itself reported earlier this month.

The New York Times Co. Reports $709 Million in Digital Revenue for 2018

The New York Times Company generated more than $709 million in digital revenue last year, growing at a pace that suggests it will meet its stated goal of $800 million in digital sales by the end of 2020.

The results prompted the company to set another lofty target: “To grow our subscription business to more than 10 million subscriptions by 2025,” Mark Thompson, the chief executive, said in a statement announcing the company’s fourth-quarter financial results.

More than 3.3 million people pay for the company’s digital products, including its news, crossword and food apps, a 27 percent jump from 2017. The total number of paid subscriptions for digital and print reached 4.3 million, a high.

Bottom line: 40% of the Times’s revenue now comes from digital dollars, with 50% soon to follow, says Joshua Benton of NiemanLab. He also includes this nifty chart tracking the growth in digital revenues.

Meanwhile, Sara Fischer at Axios offers this equally nifty chart tracking the growth in Times subscribers.

All this is prelude to the new ad campaign the Times has launched, as Fischer reported yesterday.

The New York Times launches new billboard ad campaign

The New York Times is running its first out-of-home marketing campaign for its Crossword puzzle app in Seattle and Boston through the end of March . . .

The Times currently has more than 400,000 Crossword App subscriptions. It says the “mini puzzle” that it’s specifically marketing with this campaign is played by 1.6 million players digitally each month, about a 50% increase over the past three years.

In Boston, “the campaign will be visible across screens and billboards in the T metro trains and station platforms, and on buses and bus shelters.” Because, presumably, the T is so woebegone you need more than one puzzle for your daily commute. (We said that, not Fischer.)

One interesting aspect of the Cooking and Crossword apps is that the Times considers them not content, but product. You can expect to see a lot more of it in the days and weeks to come.

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