Donald Trump’s war against the media has been good for business at the “failing” New York Times.
The publication, which the US president has mocked on Twitter, as “dishonest” and “fake news,” just posted record subscriber growth on its digital-news platform.
During the last three months of 2016, the Times added 276,000 net digital-only subscribers for its news product, which includes access to NYTimes.com and all NYTimes apps, the company announced (pdf) today. That’s more than the 184,000 net subscribers who signed up for the news organization’s digital editions in the whole of 2015, past earnings releases showed. It also marks the best quarter the New York Times’ digital publication—which currently costs $3.75 a week for basic access—has had since it launched its paywall in 2011, the company said.
The New York Times’ unprecedented growth was reportedly “buoyed by readers’ intense interest in the presidential election,” Sydney Ember, a New York Times media reporter wrote (paywall).
That increased interest was in spite of repeated shots Trump took at the publication (as well as other mainstream media outlets, including CNN and the Washington Post) during the quarter, for what he called inaccurate coverage of his presidential bid and transition.
Trump’s public derision of the press has helped other media outlets as well. Vanity Fair’s subscriptions skyrocketed, setting a new single-day record for the Condé Nast publication, the day the US president tweeted that the publication’s circulation was “way down, big trouble, dead!”
For the Times, overall revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 still ticked down 1% to $440 million, despite the healthy boost in its digital-news business. Declining advertising revenue largely drove the drop. Revenue was also down about 2% at $1.6 billion for the year.
The publication is likely hoping for another lift next quarter, considering Trump advisor Stephen Bannon’s recent remarks in a New York Times interview, in which he called the media the “opposition party.”