According to the New York Observer, [New York-based Newsday] revealed its 35-member subscription base in a newsroom-wide meeting last week, when a reporter asked how many people subscribed. 35 people at $5 a week for 12 weeks is $2,100. If they are all signed up for the year, that's $9,100 so far. Cablevision purchased Newsday for $650 million in 2008.
I heard NPR's Marketplace report that the Newsday redesign cost $4 million to get the new site ready.
Some critics use the anemic response to question whether the pay model can work, but they miss a couple points, which Ed Kohler can address far better than I.
- Subscribers to the print edition are Newsday's core readership. The pay wall could be aimed at retaining those print subscribers, who don't pay extra for web access, rather than getting new web users to pay for content. Without the wall, people who currently buy the paper could decide to get the content for free.
- Why would Newsday's advertisers care about occasional traffic from people like me who aren't likely to patronize Long Island businesses? Lower traffic might justify lower ad rates (and therefore revenue), but also give advertisers a better deal.