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Knight Center


New York Times online traffic dips since paywall debuted

After putting up a paywall at the end of March, The New York Times saw its page views drop 24.4 percent from March to April, according to AdAge. That is compared with a 7.5 percent drop in page views for newspaper sites overall.

Further, in April the NY Times saw just a 10.6 percent share of U.S. page views for all newspaper sites -- its lowest share in 12 months, AdAge said.

Still, Yahoo News and MSNBC, despite not erecting paywalls, also saw sharp declines between March and April, down 23.9 percent and 21.4 percent, respectively. A NY Times spokesperson said that indicates there was an overall dip in the news.

On April 21, during its first-quarter conference call, the NY Times said it had added 100,000 online subscribers, reported Barron's, although there was no indication how many of those subscribers were just taking advantage of the special 99-cent introductory rate for the first four weeks.

“Based on our framework, we suspect the paywall is approaching break-even on just the paying subscribers added in the first three week post-launch,” said Citigroup’s Leo Kulp, as quoted by Barron's.

In April, analytics firm Experian Hitwise said The New York Times' traffic had slowed by up to 15 percent in the first 12 days after the paywall launched, according to PaidContent.

The GLG Research Group wrote an analysis comparing newspapers' efforts to implement paywalls to the "death spiral" the U.S. Postal Service entered as it kept stamp raising rates in an effort to stave off declining revenues as people stopped mailing paper and began going digital.


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