TimesSelect New Numbers

The New York Times released new subscription numbers for their loved/(mostly) hated TimesSelect feature. The data: Out of 390,000 total TimesSelect subscribers, 234,000 are print subscribers (they receive TimesSelect for free as part of their subscription, although they do have to go register for the service online). Perhaps the most important number is the 156,000 non-print subscribers who shell out the $7.95/mo. (or $49.95/yr.) just to have electronic access to the Times.

The Times is, obviously, spinning these numbers as an impressive feat.

    “We’ve always said that if we could get a couple of hundred thousand in the first year, that would be good,” said Len Apcar, editor in chief of NYTimes.com, the paper’s Web site, which launched the service Sept. 19. “That’s very good for January.”

But the more interesting question is this: The NYTimes has roughly 1.1 million weekday subscribers and 1.7 million Sunday subscribers. And, yet, only 234,000 print subscribers have signed up for a free service? Seems like a push to get the print readers to register online would be a quick and easy way for the Times to boast of even more impressive numbers.

Or–shock and awe–could it be that hundreds of thousands of NYTimes readers are simply computer illiterate?