Interview Synopsis

The New York Times – digital subscriber trends

  • Multi Asset
  • Consumer
  • North America

COVID-19 and the presidential election are driving demand for The New York Times (NYT), which recorded its biggest rise in subscriptions in Q2 2020. “This is their core value proposition”, explained a former director from the group, “journalism that is helping people understand the world, making society a better place.”

What’s the story behind New York Times digital subscription numbers?

The NYT has implemented new tactics since the last presidential election “that are helping them maximise the return this time around”, including asking people to register or pay “much earlier” than previously.

In the light of increased D2C business models, the specialist was asked about the potential for subscription fatigue. Although competition is increasing, the NYT “has done a lot to try to improve its value proposition over the years”. In addition, the paper has dropped its barriers to entry with lower prices and a longer introductory period.

Looking into its subscription strategy further, the specialist noted that “it’s probably safe to say” that most of it stems from the lowest funnel. A weak point for the NYT, they explained, is the lack of compelling reasons to upgrade. “I’m curious to see if they’re going to develop products that those low, basic digital subscription people would want to upgrade to or add on.”

While The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal number among their competitors, “from a journalistic and a business strategy standpoint… [NYT] felt very confident that they were the leader, and didn’t have too much to worry about.” Customer churn is instead perceived as a fault of NYT not convincing customers of their value proposition or inadequate engagement.

Other topics covered in the Interview include The Daily podcast’s evolution, customer acquisition channels and the potential reaction to price increases. 

To access all the human insights from Third Bridge Forum’sThe New York Times – Digital Subscriber Trends Interview, click here to view the full transcript.

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