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Oct. 17, 2013, 4:59 p.m.
Business Models

Don’t go looking for a print copy of the International New York Times in Bangalore

The Times says print subscriptions in India were too few in number to continue offering after moving away from the International Herald Tribune brand.

When The New York Times retired the International Herald Tribune name earlier this week, the paper launched itself on a grand world tour to mark the global reach of the International New York Times. Paris, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Tel Aviv were all on the itinerary.

One growth market that was missing? India.

That seems fitting now that residents of India can no longer get a print subscription to the International New York Times. With the end of the IHT, the Times is phasing out all print subscriptions in the country, pushing former print subscribers in India to take up a digital subscription as a replacement. The subscription portal for the International New York Times tells readers:

Newspaper subscriptions are no longer available in India. For more information, or for our latest digital subscription offers, please contact us at INYTsubs@nytimes.com.

At the moment (and from looking through all the other nations represented on that subscription page) it appears India is the only country where the transition away from the IHT also meant an end to print subscriptions. (We heard about this when an IHT print subscriber living in India emailed to say that “with the shift to INYT our print edition has been canceled, leaving us appropriately devastated. INYT will only exist in digital form here.”)

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I reached out to Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha, who told me the economics of print subscriptions weren’t adding up in India:

We currently have no plans to print and distribute the International New York Times in India. After several years of operating in this market, the IHT’s total print circulation was too small to justify the costs of continuing print distribution.

We are inviting print subscribers in India to become digital subscribers to access the International New York Times at INYT.com and within our iOS apps.

Rhoades Ha told me that readers in India with an existing print subscription to the IHT will get a refund of the balance of their account.

India is often cited as the biggest current success story for the global newspaper industry, where a growing middle class and increased literacy have led to rapid growth in print and substantial revenue increases. (The Times’ American rival, The Wall Street Journal, has a print foothold in India through its partnership with the company that owns the Hindustan Times to produce the business daily Mint.)

India and Asia more broadly are areas of interest for the Times, whose plans for revenue growth count on significant expansion beyond the United States in both readers and digital subscribers. It launched a Chinese-language news site in 2012, although it’s since been blocked by the Chinese government; it followed up recently with a Chinese online version of its T Magazine. Earlier this week, timed with the INYT launch, it debuted Sinosphere, a new blog covering Greater China.

And in India, the Times’ vertical India Ink, launched in 2011, aims to reach both India residents and the diasporan community worldwide. In January, the Times hired a journalist from Kashmir, Basharat Peer, to oversee the site, and Times editor Joe Kahn told Capital New York that India Ink is “one of the destination sites that has a fairly robust and growing audience” among the Times’ blogs.

POSTED     Oct. 17, 2013, 4:59 p.m.
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