Read between the lines of the New York Times news article about the New York Times Company's latest earnings release and there's some interesting math. The article reports that "At the end of March, The Times had more than five million digital subscribers, a high." It also reports that "For the quarter, the print subscription business brought in $155.4 million for the company, while the digital subscription business accounted for $130 million."
$130 million in digital subscription revenue divided by 5 million subscribers works out to $26 a quarter, or $104 a year. Meanwhile, the same Times article reports, "In February, long-tenured digital subscribers experienced the first increase in the cost of a subscription to the core news product — from $15 to $17 every four weeks — since the establishment of the paywall nine years ago." Seventeen dollars every four weeks is $221 a year. So the average Times "digital subscriber" is paying less than half of what the Times claims is the price of a "core" digital subscription.
The Times touts its "five million digital subscriber" number whenever President Trump describes it as the "failing New York Times." Don't get me wrong, I'd be happy to have 5 million paying subscribers to FutureOfCapitalism.com (the link is here if you'd like to help). And I find a seven-day-a week print Times subscription (albeit at a discounted rate) to be a worthwhile business expense. Maybe the Times will eventually succeed at raising digital subscription prices from that $104 annual average. But for anyone trying to evaluate the strength of the business, it's worth keeping in mind that 5 million subscribers at $104 a year is a different business from 5 million subscribers at $17 every four weeks, or even at $15 every four weeks.