New York Times says income from subscriptions has overtaken ads for the first time

The New York Times paywall model appears to be paying serious dividends.

It has announced that subscriber income has overtaken money from ads for the first time. Paid digital subscribers to the New York Times and International Herald Tribune are now said to stand at 640,000.

The NYT reported a full-year profit of  $133 million for 2012 compared with a loss of $39.7 million in 2011.

Chief executive Mark Thompson told the New York Times: "The demonstrated willingness of users here and around the world to pay for the high-quality journalism for which The New York Times and the company’s other titles are renowned will be a key building block in the strategy for growth, which we are currently developing and which I will have much more to say about later in the year,” said Mark Thompson, the president and chief executive of the Times Company."

The New York Times has adopted a metered paywall model which allows limited free access but charges a subscription to regular readers. It is along similar lines to the system adopted by the FT in the UK which has seen it attract more than 300,000 paying subscribers and remain profitable throughout the long media recession.

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