Just over a year after The New York Times’ digital subscription model was launched, it provides the company with “incredible” audience data, the company’s chairman and CEO Arthur Sulzberger says at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Europe conference in London.
A total of 454,000 people have subscribed (not including print subscribers), and Sulzberger says much of the scepticism that abounded when the plan was first announced has since subsided. Given the number of media executives who have visited the paper’s offices over the last year, he expects many more payment models for digital content to be unveiled before long.
As well as the obvious financial benefit, Sulzberger noted that a key advantage of the subscription model is what it tells the paper about its audience’s reading habits.
Through the subscription model the Times has learnt that at the beginning of the day, many subscribers go to the Times in any format – print, tablet, phone or web – to scan the headlines. During the day, they look at the web or their smartphones, and in the evening they return to the print or tablet editions. The same subscribers tends to access the paper across multiple platforms, with different motivations, and the challenge now is to find better ways to deliver content most effectively across all devices, Sulzberger said.