Globe on digital-print subscription seesaw
Online sales growing as print continues its decline
THE BOSTON GLOBE says its online subscription base is growing, but barely enough to offset declines in print sales.
Over the last three years, the average number of Sunday print subscribers has declined by 44,466, while the average number of Sunday digital subscriptions has grown by 25,389. Daily print circulation fell by 21,876 over that period, while daily digital subscriptions increased 26,673.
Overall, Sunday circulation averaged 312,341 over the past year, split between 201,358 print and 110,983 digital. Daily circulation averaged 229,780 – 115,060 print and 114,720 digital.
The numbers suggest the Globe is making the transition to digital, but perhaps not quickly enough to offset declines in print circulation. Print revenues, both from subscriptions and ads, tend to be higher than digital revenues.
Digital subscriptions have grown over the last three years, but the pace has been slowing a bit, according to the statement of ownership disclosure. For the daily newspaper, the average number of digital subscriptions grew by 14,403 between the first and second year and by 12,270 between the second and third year. For the Sunday paper, digital growth was 12,982 between the first and second year and 12,407 between the second and third year.According to a story in the Boston Business Journal this week, the Globe recently hit 100,000 digital subscribers. The story said data from the Alliance for Audited Media indicated the paper reached 95,175 “restricted digital access” subscribers as of June 2018, up from 72,889 in December 2016.
Jane Bowman, vice president of marketing and strategic partnerships at Boston Globe Media, said in an email that the paper’s internal numbers show it hit 100,000 digital-only paid subscriptions as of last week. She noted digital numbers put out by the Alliance for Audited Media and the statement of ownership disclosure differ because they cover different time periods and they also include some print subscribers who also have access to and engage with the paper’s website.