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Nov. 8, 2023, 1:06 p.m.
LINK: nytco-assets.nytimes.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Sarah Scire   |   November 8, 2023

The New York Times announced Wednesday that it has hit a big round number: 10 million subscribers.

Feeling a little deja vu? That may be because the Times already hit the 10 million mark more than a year ago. But that was 10 million total subscriptions; this is 10 million total subscribers. (If you subscribed separately to, say, The Athletic and NYT Crosswords, you’d count as two subscriptions, but just one subscriber.)

It’s a distinction that’s fundamental to the Times’ business model, which has evolved from a single unified offering — the news — to a curated array of digital content products. And the company’s focus is squarely on converting subscribers to one into subscribers to all.

As we’ve said before, it’s all about The Bundle at The New York Times these days. In a conference call to share quarterly results with investors on Wednesday, Times executives said again that they’ve stopped marketing the news-only product. Readers have been pushed instead toward a bundle of digital offerings including Cooking, Games, The Athletic, Wirecutter, NYT Audio, and, sure, yes, News.

Visit nytimes.com/subscription right now and your two options are an All-Access digital subscription — at a promo rate of $1/week for the first six months — or a print subscription that includes All-Access Digital.

 

About 38% of subscribers are bundle subscribers paying for access for more than one product — and the Times hopes to see that figure grow to more than 50% over the next few years.

“We got clear evidence that our non-news funnels are increasingly effective as on-ramps to the bundle,” New York Times president and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien said. Levien pointed, in particular, to NYT Games’ “homegrown hit” Connections and said it’s now played by more than 10 million users a week.

Subscription revenue from digital-only products increased 15.7%, driven by the Times converting subscribers on promotional deals to higher-cost offerings as well as the Times successfully upping the price on “tenured non-bundled subscribers.”

“While it is still relatively early, we are encouraged by the signals that bundled subscribers retain and monetize better than news-only subscribers as we step them up to higher prices,” Times chief financial officer Will Bardeen noted.

The Athletic, meanwhile, is losing less money than before. The sports news site grew ad revenue three-fold in the quarter, Levien said. Overall ad revenue grew 6% in the past quarter, despite podcasts bringing in lower-than-anticipated figures. The Times’ ad numbers fly in the face of larger industry headwinds. (The winner-takes-all pattern persists.)

“I would say macroeconomically, it remains a pretty uncertain time,” Levien said. “There are two places where we’ve said we expect some continued headwinds: one is print advertising […] and then podcasts, particularly news podcasts, which remain under pressure for a number of reasons.”

Read the full Times earnings report here.

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