The New York Times now has north of a million digital subscribers, but only 13 percent are from outside the United States. CEO Mark Thompson, a former head of the BBC, and his colleagues are convinced there’s a wealth of additional readers overseas who would be willing to pay for its journalism on smartphones and computers.
“I don’t see why we shouldn’t aspire to a digital subscriber count of many millions,” Thompson told POLITICO.
The New York Times announced it would spend $50 million over the next three years to jumpstart “a new era of international growth.” The money is not only a massive cash infusion, but a big bet on the New York Times’ odds of weathering the newspaper apocalypse through a combination of digital smarts and global scale.
The future of the business depends on it. Later than some of its counterparts in smaller international markets, America’s best-known newspaper is confronting a harsh reality of the new digital media environment: revenues from readers at home won’t be enough to keep its newsroom running.
The New York Times will have to overcome formidable domestic competitors wherever it expands, and make its distinctly American sensibility appeal to readers in those places.
“Every part of the company … needs to think creatively about attracting and retaining a bigger non-American audience and growing revenue outside the U.S.,” Thompson wrote in a staff memo in April co-signed by publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Dean Baquet.
“We intend to cultivate a much larger and deeper readership in core markets abroad.” Read more at POLITICO.