The New York Times Business Model Analysis

The New York Times generated over $2 billion in revenues in 2021, $1.36 billion in subscriptions, $497 million in advertising, and $215 million in other revenues. Of the subscriptions revenues, over $773 million were generated by digital subscriptions, while printed subscriptions generated $588 million.

How does The New York Times make money?

As a global media organization that “focuses on creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information” the company’s principal business consists of distributing content across its digital, and print platforms and in small part to third-party platforms. The New York Times monetizes its content in two simples ways:

  • Subscriptions: both printed and digital.
  • Advertising: display, classified, and others.

Let’s give a quick look at The New York Times business model.

Subscription-based strategy driven by a freemium model

The New York Times offers users free access to a set number of articles per month until it shows a paywall requesting users to join the platform for a basic subscription fee, that can initially be as low as $1 per week:


The content gets distributed across print and digital. In 2021 NYTimes had about 8.8 million paid subscribers to print and digital. Digital-only subscribers were over 8 million, while printed subscribers were 784K people. 

Of the digital subscriptions, 5.86 million people were subscribed to News product subscriptions and over 2.1 million people were subscribed to other product subscriptions. 

How The NYTimes subscription-based business model is evolving

Over the years NYTimes has shifted its business model toward a subscription. Indeed, the revenues coming from subscriptions surpassed those coming from advertising. This is a massive and vital change, as publishers have for over a century lived off advertising revenues.

It is important to notice that the most significant portion of subscription revenue is still based on the print newspaper. However, as the competition with digital formats has increased, NYTimes is also emphasizing its digital-only subscription.

NYTimes advertising revenue model 

With a comprehensive portfolio of advertising products and services provided across print, web, and mobile platforms the advertising revenues comprises three main sources:

Display Advertising

The New York Times had the largest market share in 2021 in print advertising revenue among national newspapers (compared to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Times, as reported by MediaRadar). an independent agency that measures advertising sales volume and estimates advertising revenue.

  • Display advertising comprises.
  • Banners.
  • Video.
  • Rich media.
  • Other interactive ads.
  • Branded content.

Classified and Other Advertising

Classified advertising includes line ads sold in the major categories of real estate, help wanted, automotive, and others. 

Classified advertising comprises three major types: real estate, help wanted, and automotive. Those pay on a per-line basis. While on the web or mobile platforms the pay is on per listing base, which can be mixed as an add-on to the print ad.

In 2017, digital and print classified and other advertising represented approximately 13% of NYTimes advertising revenues.

Other businesses part of the NYTimes galaxy

As reported on NYTimes financial statements:

Other revenues primarily consist of revenues from news services/syndication, digital archive licensing, building rental income, affiliate referrals, NYT Live (our live events business) and retail commerce. Digital other revenues consists primarily of digital archive licensing revenue and affiliate referral revenue. Building rental income consists of revenue from the lease of floors in our New York headquarters building, which totaled $16.7 million, $17.1 million and $16.9 million in 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively

NY Times distribution strategy

It is interesting to notice the massive reach NYTimes has been able to build over the web. In short, it is the case in which a player from the printed mastered the digital world as well. With a site, that according to Similar Web estimates 662 million visits per month.

With its primarily market in the US, The NYTimes is present across the globe, with its digital subscriptions.

The NYTimes strength lies in its strong brand and the ability to attract directly visitors to its web properties. 

The marketing mix shows directly as the primary source. This implies a strong brand recognision. 

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