Good Thing The Globe Has Those Digital Subscribers

With the New York Times Co. selling off lots of its assets lately and The Globe experimenting with a new paywalled web site, there’s obviously some heightened interest in how the paper is performing businesswise, both in New York and around these parts. So it was with curiosity that we saw The New York Times itself report that though advertising revenue continued to vanish at The Globe (and across the company), digital subscribers were up by 13 percent to 26,000 or so. The Times‘s advertising and digital subscription numbers moved in similar directions. 

Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon notes that this isn’t quite enough to compensate for the disappearing ad revenue, which is an industry-wide problem largely ascribed to the fact that the economy sucks:

The Globe’s digital and print subscription combo did not compensate for the loss of advertising revenue, though the two are close: Circulation accounted for $40,128,000 in the third quarter at the New England operations; advertising brought in $41,761,000.

That means ad revenue is still a problem, but it’s less of a problem than it might be if papers like the Times and the Globe hadn’t started experimenting wiht new revenues, like paywalls, in the past couple years. As the Times Media Decoder blog put it, “overall revenue was buoyed by the continued growth of paid subscriptions.” A buoy seems like a nice, visual metaphor here.