Friday, June 24, 2011

A silver lining for the Old Gray Lady

You may recall that I was a bit glass-half-empty in evaluating the New York Times' new paywall, but the numbers so far seem to show that the newspaper is holding its own now that readers must pay for unlimited access to the newspaper's digital products. As Dorian Benkoil at MediaShift notes, the drop-off in readership may be offset not only but the subscription revenue but by increasing the value of the audience to advertisers. He suggests, like I did, that the Times target its ad more narrowly now that it has more motivated and affluent readership online.

For now, it appears that the Times has a more durable and valuable brand than what skeptics like me surmised, and that the ease of reading the Times online, and without hassle, is worth the money. Probably doesn't hurt that the Times gradually restricted the free content available on its app, after users had grown accustomed to the convenience of that particular format. Now if they could just figure out how to keep it from crashing all the time on the iPhone...

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