Despite all predictions, The New York Times doesn’t look like its slowing down in subscriber acquisition. The company gained 74,000 new digital subscribers in Q4 of 2012, with a total of 640,000 digital subscriptions.
And using the lowest priced subscription plan of $195/year, the Times should expect about $125 million in digital subscription revenues alone by the end of 2013. Assuming they can retain all of their digital subscribers.
And there’s the rub. Analysis of NYT’s metered model, which will be two years old in March, has been mostly laudatory, especially after the numbers starting rolling in. But the analysis has focused little on retention, and there’s no real word on how many of the newly acquired subscribers NYT is able to retain — or their expected churn rate.
But the news is still encouraging, especially since 65% of digital-only subscribers are new, i.e., not print subscribers converting to digital subscriptions. That means that paywalls and metered models are able to attract entirely new audiences.
Of course, that also means that every legacy publication will have to re-evaluate their content to make sure its meeting the needs and desires of an entirely new audience. But no one should be just shoveling their print product online. Digital disruption means content innovation at the very least.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that The New York Times had gained 74,000 new subscribers in Q1 of 2013, not Q4 of 2012. It also mistakenly estimated the total number of subscribers at 714,000 (not 640,000) and annual revenues for 2013 as $140 million (not the correct estimate of $125 million).