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Has New York TimesSelect failed? 3/16/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Money.
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In an attempt to generate revenues from material placed online, in late 2005 the New York Times introduced New York TimesSelect, essentially instituting a subscription fee to access its op-ed columns and archives. The announcement this week that TimesSelect will now be free to university students, faculty, staff, and anyone else with an e-mail address ending with “.edu” suggests weakness, i.e. an effort to boost its base of subscribers. The article indicates that as of January, TimesSelect had 627,000 subscribers, 36% of which were online-only. Doing the math, this means 226,000 online-only subscribers. In the best possible case, making the unlikely assumptions that none of these were free subscriptions, and none came from former print subscribers who had been paying 10 times as much as TimesSelect’s $49.95 annual price, this generated at most $11 million of true revenue. This would not seem to be enough to replace the needed subscription fee revenue base should print editions ultimately become obsolete.

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1. Jason Froderman - 3/19/07

How about ad revenue for the site? Their daily traffic apart from the TimesSelect subscribers alone would generate a huge amount of additional income. TimesSelect subscribers (assuming they still see ads) would increase ad revenue as well.

A lot of web services where logins give privileged information become a valuable and profitable resource simply based off ad revenue and additional marketing through emails (ahem…spam) they send. Can I just say I hate the spam and the abuse of my email address and all the people that have their grubby little hands on it? Alright I’m off my soapbox.

Not that I’m disagreeing with you, it will take a lot for the NYT to overcome an obsolete print edition, but the $11 million figure is a bit misleading if you don’t take into account other online revenue streams.


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