The Boston Globe’s digital circulation rises to 235,000

The Boston Globe’s paid digital circulation keeps growing. According to an email that editor Brian McGrory sent to the staff Friday afternoon and that was passed on by a trusted source, the paper is now at 235,000. I won’t quote the whole thing, but here’s the relevant part:

In the past two months, what David Epstein would call the meteorological winter, we’ve added more than 8,500 new digital subscribers, bringing our total to about 235,000. It’s easy to take this massive achievement for granted, but you need to know, there’s not another major metro paper in the US that’s near this. And we’re retaining our existing subscribers better than any forecast. We’ve also had some of our biggest traffic days since the early pandemic in the past month.

Much of this is a tribute to the good work the Globe is doing. But some of it has to be a consequence of the high cost of a print subscription — a cost that will soon be rising even more. This showed up in my inbox several days ago:

I do wonder what the Globe sees as the future of its print edition. As recently as December, the paper reported that 55% of its revenue continues to come from print. I have to assume they have no intention of getting rid of it. But as I tweeted, I’m curious as to whether there’s a deliberate strategy to shrink the print run and move more readers over to digital.

9 thoughts on “The Boston Globe’s digital circulation rises to 235,000

  1. Steve Ross

    Discounting cost of production the print edition may be closer to 20-30% of profit despite being 55% of revenue.

    Bluntly, the Globe^s success comes from investing in reporters and expanding its circulation area into territory poorly served by competitors. We benefit. Thanks to the staff. Thanks to the owners.

  2. Helen Chin Schlichte

    Hi Dan:

    Miss you on Friday evenings.

    We’ve been a print subscriber of both the Globe and NYTimes since 1975. We read some on-line, but there’s something about holding the newsprint that’s near and dear. It’s expensive; it’s a luxury we enjoy. Hope print never disappears.

    Helen Chin Schlichte
    Charlestown, MA 02129 3731
    helen.chinschlichte@hcsboston.org

  3. Stephen R Nelson

    Dan, does this include Kindle subscriptions? Amazon makes a fancy PDF copy of the print edition of the Globe every morning, I’m guessing from 4-5 AM. They send that to subscribers. It isn’t the same as the IPad version.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Stephen, that’s an interesting question. The Kindle edition of newspapers is not a PDF — it’s its own thing. I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I kind of like the one for the New York Times, and I buy it when I’m flying. I don’t know how Kindle editions are counted toward a newspaper’s paid circulation. I suspect that very few Kindle subscriptions are sold since it’s an extra expense.

      1. Steve Ross

        It’s 99 cents a day, $29.99 a month on Kindle. I’ve occasionally bought a single day but the Globe’s own digital look-alike is actually more comprehensive and comes with the digital subscription anyway.

        Helen is right. I certainly get more out of the on-paper edition of Globe, wapo, nyt, than digital. Just plain better for browsing. My 15″ laptop folds over to be tablet-like, but it is cumbersome.

        The few times I’ve left South Station for NYC last year, I bought a paper copy. More expensive but easier to handle.

      2. Stephen R Nelson

        I knew it wasn’t Adobe PDF, but I didn’t have a better term. And it doesn’t have everything in the IPad, online or paper edition (like photos) but Kindle is what I have. I ended up getting it on Kindle because the paper version is very difficult to get, especially during the week. I don’t want to sit in front of a computer screen for the rest of my life.

        The Globe also implies somewhere online that Nook and Kobo have e-versions of the Globe.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Steve: The Times Kindle edition is divided into sections. It’s a nice reading experience. The Globe is kind of a mess.

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