The New Yorker belongs to a rare club of publications whose revenue from readers exceeds that of advertisers. Total paid circulation for the highbrow weekly rose 12.3 percent last year to 1.2 million, even as the subscription price grew 20 percent to $120 for the most popular print-digital bundle. Today, readers contribute 65 percent of the revenue.
“It was scary to think about charging three-figure sums,” said Pam McCarthy, deputy editor of The New Yorker, recalling the decision to raise the price of the bundle to $100 in 2016. “Then, we thought, people in their 20s are paying for Netflix when we were embarking on this increase…….the lesson of the past five years has been not to undervalue ourselves.”
While subscribers haven’t resisted price increases so far, it’s hard to know if and when that’ll happen. Ray thinks there’s still room to increase the price further without sacrificing conversion rate, given The New Yorker’s unique editorial and that the magazine has tested cutting back the number of articles people can read for free before hitting the paywall to four from six, and the conversion rate still went up.
“It is all about the editorial stories and being able to find writers who can write the stories that don’t appear anywhere else,” she said. “We do need to show subscribers the value; we always have to come up with different ways to meet different needs for them.”