In my last couple of columns, I’ve told you about our new Monday e-edition and afternoon newsletter, both of which are part of our strategy to attract more digital customers. So far, the feedback has been good on both of these new products, and I am hoping they will continue to find an audience.
Both are part of our digital strategy, which in turn reflects the evolving digital strategy of the traditional newspaper industry. We know that the number of customers for printed newspapers are continuing to decline. Pew Charitable Trust reported that U.S. newspaper circulation in 2018 was the lowest since at least 1940. In a world where people have a smartphone in their hands 16 hours a day, offering today’s news on newsprint to customers tomorrow morning is an increasingly tenuous business model.
But after years of pessimism, I am feeling a little more optimistic about our industry. We are attracting more and more digital customers.
The national newspapers are the farthest along in this digital transformation. The New York Times now has more than 7 million digital subscribers. The Washington Post has made enough money online to increase its news staff from about 580 to more than 1,000 over the past eight years.
In a recent presentation, the CEO of Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper chain, said its paid digital subscriptions grew by 31 percent last year. The company’s goal is to increase the digital subscriber base from 1 million today to 10 million by 2025.