On trend, Washington Post posts buoyant subscriber numbers

Some new numbers on the Washington Post’s subscription base. Quality newspapers, in the US at least, have found their sweet spot in attracting paying customers. Giving readers a chance to read five (or so) pieces for free means material is not locked away from the internet – like the Times Of London’s dismal paywall.

That, combined with the Trump presidency, is good news for the US capitol’s paper of record:

For context, the New York Times is doing even better. From last month:

More than three million paid digital-only subscribers. More than four million total.

The New York Times Company announced on Thursday that it surpassed those milestones during the third quarter of 2018, when the number of its digital subscribers showed a net increase of roughly 203,000.

What can’t be understated in all of this is the power of bundling things to these deals that aren’t news, as the NYT goes on to note:

Not all of the new subscribers signed on for news. The Times reported that, of the 203,000 net increase in digital subscribers, 143,000 signed on for digital news products, with the remainder paying for the company’s cooking and crossword features.

This might seem like something of a hack to boost numbers, but it’s just a modern incarnation of what has always been the case. Newspapers had TV guides and cinema listings – crossword and recipe apps fill that space, and fill it well.