Before the 2016 election was concluded and its expectation-shattering result had been revealed, The New York Times had already been enjoying a greater-than-normal rate of subscriptions, a figure that grew even more impressive in the election’s lengthy, and continuing, aftermath, especially for digital subscriptions. “We expect digital-only revenue subscription revenue growth to be 20 percent in Q4,” New York Times Company president and CEO Mark Thompson said yesterday during an interview for the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.
Since Oct. 1, the publication has added 200,000 new subscribers. Some weeks, the surge has translated to “ten times the net subscriptions that we saw the same time last year,” said Thompson. In just the one-week period following the Election Day, the Times added a record 41,000 subscribers. “The election, current track of politics in the Western world, continued anxiety about the economy and so forth–it feels like everything, at the moment, is tending toward acceleration,” he said.
It’s a trend that Thompson expects to continue, given Donald Trump‘s penchant for keeping himself in the news. “Often after an election you expect a lull in the news cycle, which can play out in a lull in audience and a lull in subscription take-up. To state the obvious, we’re not seeing that. We’re seeing on the contrary, a surge. And, I would say more broadly, that we expect the lively news cycle to continue in America, and given the events in Europe, beyond America, well into 2017.”
The election, Thompson says, has created in the public a “very strong belief that politicians are saying things which are not true and need to be held to account,” contributing to a subscriber surge in those publications able to do that.
The Times has not been the only publication to benefit from a post-election surge, with The Atlantic and The Washington Post seeing an increase in subscriptions and ProPublica, Guardian U.S. and Mother Jones an increase in donations.