The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) CEO Mark Thompson gave a commencement speech at Columbia University recently where he discussed the success of the company’s digital subscription strategy despite skepticism from critics. Thompson said that the media criticized that The New York Times’ “meter paywall” would be a disaster when it launched in 2011. He pointed out that this is now the standard for the rest of the newspaper industry.
“The launch of the pay model is the most important and most successful business decision made by The New York Times in many years. We have around 700,000 paid digital subscribers across the company?s products so far and a new nine-figure revenue-stream which is still growing. Much of the rest of the US newspaper industry is now following suit. And developing this pay model, launching a suite of new subscription products to attract additional new subscribers, is central to our plans for the future.” said Thompson in the commencement speech as quoted by paidContent.
By switching to a paid subscription model, The New York Times is forfeiting a lot in potential ad dollars. Thompson said that it is this type of risk that is the secret to America’s culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. The New York Times as a whole receives around 30 million monthly unique visitors.
The New York Times hit 2012 revenues of $2 billion. The company’s properties include The New York Times, The Boston Globe, NYTimes.com, Boston.com, BostonGlobe.com, and the International Herald Tribune.