May 5, 2017

The New York Times attributes a rise in digital subscriptions to Trump


The New York Times’ recent advertising campaign included this NYC billboard, as well as their first-ever TV commercial, which aired during the Oscars in February.

Admit it: you’ve probably found the New York Times’ homepage ads declaring that “the truth is more important now than ever” disconcerting, right? Not disconcerting enough to make you unsubscribe, perhaps but—as both Alex Caton at the Washington Post and the editors of n+1 have suggested—just a little queasy at the blatant use of a national crisis to sell subscriptions.

Despite whatever misgivings you’ve had, it’s also likely that you’ve been turning to the Times more often than you used to, and you’re not the only one. Adweek’s Richard Horgan reports that the Times has seen a sixty percent increase in digital subscriptions in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same period last year — “a massive jump mainly attributed to the political campaigning and presidency of Donald Trump.”

When a key portion of the Q1 stats released today by The New York Times Co. is filtered through the nitty-gritty print metric of “daily,” it works out to 3,422 new and renewed digital subscriptions for each and every January, February and March day. All told, around 2.2 million people were paying to read the Times in digital form at the end of March.

In the 2017 first-quarter eport published on the New York Times Company website on Wednesday, Mark Thompson, president and CEO, noted that they’d “added 308,000 net digital subscriptions, making Q1 the best single quarter for subscriber growth in [Times] history.” Given the concomitant surge in digital ad revenue (up nineteen percent over last year), it seems doubtful the Times will change the tone of their advertising push, which you’re probably pretty used to at this point. They’re hardly the only company sounding the near-constant alarm bells in the push for bigger sales.




Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.