New York Times online paywall continues to boost paper growth

NY Times app on a phone | Credit:

NY Times app on a phone | Credit:

For years now journalists have discussed how online paywalls can help “save” the newspaper industry, that if major print publications could just figure a way to charge for web content then the industry could thrive.

The New York Times is hardly your run-of-the-mill paper, but they have managed to lead the way with successful paywall strategies. After two years, the Times’ online page keeps adding tens of thousands of subscribers per quarter, according to CJR. In the fourth quarter, NYT online reached 640,000 digital subscriptions and added 74,000 new subscribers.

Still, as writer Ryan Chittum points out, the paywall was really about slowing the decline of its print operation. The company still has a way to go before it can make up in digital advertising what it’s losing in its quickly vanishing print ad revenues.

Analytics firm optimizes big publications’ editorial strategies

(Screenshot of Visual Revenue website logo)

Analytics firm Visual Revenue is offering services to big-time news outlets like The Atlantic and USA Today to help them determine the best ways to use their online presences. According to Nieman Journalism Lab, news organizations with specific personalities develop specific needs in their publishing and social media strategies.

“Even fantastic content can die if you don’t put it out right,” Visual Revenue CEO Dennis Mortensen told Adrienne LaFrance. “The Atlantic can put out content from four o’clock in the afternoon to nine in the evening and it’s equally powerful. It is very much property-specific. I can’t take my learning from The Atlantic and copy over to the Economist.”

LaFrance says that one thing remains constant for all publications: “tweeting more is better than not tweeting enough but tweeting all at once is worse than not tweeting at all.”

Visual Revenue uses editorial information provided by publications and inputs it into an algorithm that objectively determines optimal tweet and publishing timing. The robotic element, they say, makes the publication as productive as possible. Mortensen said that before The New York Daily News began using Visual Revenue, it was putting new content on its homepage about 80 times a day. Now it updates 160 times a day.