In a statement called Our Path Forward, The New York Times — often lamented as a victim of new digital media economics — celebrates it 1,000,000th digital subscriber. The paper (it’s still hard not to call it that, thought it’s clearly a misnomer now) also says that its revenues from digital-only operations reached $400 million. That’s “about as much,” the Times says pointedly, as “Four of our highest-profile digital competitors — Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Gawker Media — reportedly earned last year combined.”
The Times admits it is not above the unrelenting questions about its business model — and it ducks them only at its peril. But it boasts that the ramp up to 1 million digital subscribers took just five years, and it envisions doubling this number — or at least doubling revenue to $800 million by 2020. The Times says it is in a unique position in its industry, despite — or because of — what it calls unprecedented disruption. All told the New York Times is visited by “140 million devices each month.” And the paper (and here the description is correct) retains a million subscribers itself –offline, printed page subscribers. The Times says the way forward is to “organize the way we work around our readers, not legacy processes and structures.” Of course they mention the Apple Watch. The Grey Lady is showing more than a touch of color.