By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Globe’s subscription growth stalls: Digital is up a little, print is down by more

The Boston Globe’s digital subscription growth continues, but at a slower pace, while print keeps on sliding. Don Seiffert of the Boston Business Journal has been looking at numbers from the Alliance for Audited Media and reports that the Globe has added 22,000 digital subscribers over the past three years while losing 24,000 print customers. Paid digital circulation is now at about 257,000, well below CEO Linda Henry’s “North Star” goal of 400,000, although she has not set a timeline for reaching that number.

Weekday print circulation is now below 54,000, according to a chart accompanying Seiffert’s story. Although he didn’t include a number for Sunday print, it was about 116,000 as of last October.

Henry told Seiffert that the Globe is making investments that she expects will lead to future growth:

Our subscribers can see this investment with our expanded daily news videos, our new weather center, better games, new podcasts, deeper geographic expansion, and more. We do not expect growth to follow a linear pattern — we have a long-term strategy for continuing to serve our community as a strong and sustainable organization.

Of those initiatives, moving into new regions strikes me as the one with the most promise in terms of driving subscriptions. The Globe has had success with its Rhode Island and New Hampshire coverage. And though those areas were easy pickings (especially Rhode Island), there are certainly other parts of New England where residents might welcome a regional edition of the Globe.

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  1. Aaron Read

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Why exactly is Rhode Island “easy pickings”?

    Sure the Projo (and by extension the Newport Daily News) are crap and getting worse by the month. But it’s hardly a news desert down here. We have two very solid local TV news operations, two public radio outlets (one local, one from Boston), at least a dozen major local/regional web news sites (RI Current, What Up Newp, etc), plus a gaggle of fairly major local daily newspapers (actual papers) like the Valley Breeze or the Westerly Sun, and three dozen weeklies scattered across the state.

    It’s true that the RI bureau of the Globe has done a fine job filling the hole left by the Gatehouse-gutted ProJo/NDN, but I don’t think it’s fair to buy into the Globe’s own (somewhat obnoxious, if understandably competitive) narrative that news was going completely uncovered until the Globe graced us with their presence.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Yes, I realize there’s a lot going on in Rhode Island. But if the large regional paper has fallen into irrelevance (sorry; that’s probably too harsh), then it is indeed easy pickings. I hope/assume Rhode Islanders are continuing to support their local outlets, too.

  2. Mike B

    The Globe can’t be purchased onsite in entire neighborhoods in Boston. No wonder the print sales are falling.

    • K C

      I’m curious what neighborhoods you’re talking about?

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