by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 21st 2011 7:06pm
With the NYT's latest earnings is the news that it's been able to sign up 100,000 people for its new not-really-a-paywall. However, even the NYT seems to admit it has no idea what this number really means, since many of those include discounted offerings, and there's no clear indication whether or not those people will stick around later. In fact, as reader Ragaboo suggests, the NYT was using Groupon to push super cheap subscriptions over the past few weeks, leading to speculation that it was looking for a last minute "push" to boost its numbers. Separately, we'd already seen that automaker Lincoln was offering people free subscriptions as well. So, while this is an interesting bit of data, it'll be more interesting to see what happens next. The other interesting tidbit is that digital ad revenue grew 4.5%, which seems slower than some other online properties lately, and which certainly raises questions about whether the paywall is harming online ad growth -- especially considering the rather substantial drop in traffic. Given that online ad revenue continues to rise, and subscriptions to the paper continue to drop, it still appears like the NYT is betting on the wrong horse in this race.
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