NYT Pageviews Fall in First Month of Paywall, Print Sales Increase

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The New York Times’ paywall may have seemed to launch successfully, with early reports of 100,000 paid subscriptions in its first three weeks, but its first full month of operation tells a different story: Page views dropped 24.4% from March to April, with the NYT’s share of all newspaper website traffic dropping from 13% in March to an 12 month low of 10.6% in April, according to ComScore.

The drop is being downplayed by the paper, with a spokeswoman saying that “When you look at… numbers at Yahoo News and MSNBC that suggests that there was a dip in news [overall]. Despite that, and given that this is the first month where you can see the traffic patterns post-digital subscription launch, these are actually better numbers than our internal projections.” Analysts also believe that the drop isn’t necessarily a big deal to the paper right now, with Citi’s Leo Kulp telling investors “[W]e suspect the paywall is approaching breakeven on just the paying subscribers added in the first three weeks post-launch,” adding that “NYT will likely see a boost to revenue from Lincoln’s sponsorship of 100k subscribers as well as the increase in print subscriptions post-launch, which is important because the print version is still very profitable.”

So… overall, it’s a win because adding a digital paywall makes more people read the print version? New Media for the win?

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