Some are making note of the fact that, for the first time, “circulation revenue” is higher than advertising revenue for the NY Times. Of course, it appears that much of this is due to a sharp drop in ad revenue. That’s not to say there hasn’t been an increase in circulation revenue — which includes both print and digital. The NYT raised print prices, and it didn’t seem to scare people off that much. And it’s continued to sign up people to its not-really-a-paywall. It’s so easy to get around the paywall that, at best, it should be considered a nagwall for a donation — with many people happy to pay something.
Still, one has to wonder if some of the softness in the ad side of the business is caused by the fact that there’s this nagwall that can sometimes get in between readers and the site. It certainly could be limiting advertisers’ willingness to sign onto campaigns. And, there are still significant questions about the sustainability of the NY Times in its current structure. Because there’s still this bottom line: for the second quarter, the company had an operating loss of $143.6 million. We can argue all you want over paywalls vs. advertising and whether or not one side is up or one side is down, but if the company isn’t make money, the whole system has to be in question.