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“Bullet proof” retention strategy: 3 million+ students now subscribe to New York Times

The New York Times announced that over 3 million public school students in the U.S. now receive free access to nytimes.com, thanks to more than 30,000 contributions from nearly 75 countries.

The NYT’s Sponsor a Student subscription program, launched in 2017, allows people to make a contribution that provides Times digital subscriptions to students and schools in the U.S. Right now 4,000 schools in all 50 U.S. states benefit from this program.

For every subscription granted through the program, The Times provides a subscription to one additional student. “If you contribute $100, you would be funding 25 to 50 student subscriptions, and the NYT would match that number,” the publisher said.

To give you an idea of just how far your generosity can go, a $50 contribution can provide access for one midsized class for one year.

The New York Times

“The program supports independent journalism and our communities by empowering the next generation of readers,” says the company. “It also provides unlimited access to The Times’s Learning Network and its rich archive of lesson plans for the schools that sponsored students attend.”

The Times uses a number of innovative subscription growth strategies, and in this particular way, it’s investing in the next generation of NYT readers, which it believes will help retain current subscribers.

“We already have high retention, but I think this could make it almost bullet proof.”

Hannah Yang, Head of Subscription Growth, NYT

Tellingly, this program was launched the same year The Times’ David Dunlap published The Times in the Schools; or, Get Them While They’re Young, highlighting the publisher’s involvement in education throughout history.

According to the company, the program was initiated as a direct response to the numerous unsolicited contributions and offers to purchase large volumes of subscriptions that The Times received from its readers.

Yang says while many subscribers pay for NYT to read it for themselves, many others aim to support what they consider to be good traditional journalism now and for future generations, Axios reports.

Although the program is currently limited to schools in the United States only, The Times eventually aims to open up the program internationally. Further details on the student subscription program are available at the NYT’s “Support the mission” page here.

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