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Analyzing the New York Times Paywall Subscriber Numbers

Earlier today we told you how the New York Times released the first stats since its paywall launched, and like most people, we thought over 100,000 subscribers was pretty good. However, not everyone is so optimistic.

Nieman Journalism Lab did some raining on our parade with a post involving a comparison of Times Select, the Times’ first attempt at a paywall, and the new paywall. The bottom line, according to the post: The initial numbers are good, but patience is needed.

These are the people who love the Times and have no problem ponying up a few bucks a month as soon as they’re asked, both because they see the value in the paper and out of a civic-minded spirit. (I’m one of them!) They’re the primary target of the Times’ paywall efforts past and present.

The problem is that there are only so many of them around. And TimesSelect, at least, had a difficult time getting a lot of traction beyond them — with subscriptions increasing by only about 7,000 in the last four months.

See, this is why we don’t mess with stuff like “numbers” and “research.” It just bums us out.

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