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New York Times Digital Could Dominate Subscriptions by 2014 (Report)

The New York Times

Analyst Kannan Venkateshwar predicts the paper's online subscribers will surpass print in the next few years.

Since The New York Times put up a paywall on its website last year, the decision raised eyebrows among media observers who questioned whether the "Paper of Record" was making a giant mistake.

Many months later, the paywall appears to be paying off: According to a new report from Barclays analyst Kannan Vankateshwar (via All Things D), the Times could well be on its way to netting more digital subscribers over print ones. At the moment, the Times has 530,000-plus subscribers for its online version compared with some 700,000 print subscribers; that gap is narrowing, Vankateshwar projects, with digital subscriptions on a course to surpass the latter by 2014.

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Since debuting in March 2011, the Times' digital paywall (a monthly subscription costs between $15-$35; non-subscribers have access to 10 articles per month) has grown its base of paying customers amid an increase in circulation revenue. Meanwhile, ad dollars for both print and digital editions continued to decline.

This report comes on the heels of this month's layoffs at The Daily, owned by the News Corporation, which has failed to meet expectations since debuting to much fanfare last year. The digital newspaper, built for the iPad, has been limited by its daily publishing schedule -- a setback in today's 24/7 instant news cycle -- and scope of reach as full content is accessible only to subscribers who own iPads.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post has decided after five issues to make its much-hyped new tablet magazine a free app after attempting to use a paid subscription model.