Henry Blodget at Business Insider says that all the Times paywall naysayers got one thing wrong in their analysis: the effect of the paywall on the legacy print business. According to Blodget, the Times circulation numbers were declining before the paywall because of the discrepancy between “the cost of a print paper (~$600 a year) versus the cost of the web site (free).” Why pay for nothing, right?
But now that there is a paywall, paying for the print newspaper is no longer paying for nothing. In fact, a senior Times executive told Business Insider that the paywall is actually leading to an uptick in print subscriptions. And on top of that, it’s providing revenue for their digital business, without totally destroying their advertising revenue. For anyone who loves newspapers, this is definitely something to feel happy about. We doubt anyone — even Times rivals like the Huffington Post — actually wants the Times to fail.