The NYT paywall plugs the hole

Charting the state of The New York Times

Felix asks what my graph of New York Times digital revenue would look like including print ads.

Here’s the original chart, which shows the paywall doubling NYT digital revenue in just over two years:

Now here’s the chart Felix requested, which adds in print ad revenue. Let me note that the non-2013 numbers in this post are based on my calculations—not official NYT numbers. I backed into them via other numbers disclosed in NYT securities filings:

Unsurprisingly, print ads are still the behemoth, comprising 63 percent of that pile of revenue. But note that digital subscriptions have more than offset the 23 percent decline in print advertising since 2009.

Let’s add in print circulation (and “other”) to look at total revenues:

Flat since 2009.

Now here’s what those charts look like without the paywall:


Without the paywall, NYT revenue would be down more than 10 percent (and it’s actually worse than that, since a small part of that print circulation revenue is due to the paywall) since 2009.

The Times’s digital revenue is still peanuts compared to its print revenue. But it’s important to consider the Times’s viability as a digital-only business, which it will be in ten years (possibly excepting the Sunday paper). Its big newsroom costs somewhere around $200 million a year.

In that respect, $310 million and growing, slowly, doesn’t look nearly as bad, particularly with the three-quarters of a billion dollars in cash it now has on its balance sheet. With a bit of help on the digital ad side, the NYT will be in decent shape for the long run.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,