The Times itself reported on Wednesday that The New York Times Company earned an operating profit of $37.9 million in the second quarter of this year—down from last year but still pretty healthy—thanks in large part to the paper’s combined print and digital subscriber base of 4.7 million readers.
If you are among that 4.7 million, you have been won over with some canny marketing. The Times’ decision to heavily invest in attracting subscriptions from a national (even international) audience has been a savvy and largely successful one, but almost by definition these world-conquering ambitions can only succeed at the expense of other, smaller outlets.
There is not an unlimited international appetite for newspaper subscriptions. And that expansion has required the paper to market itself as various things it is not: chiefly as a true national newspaper, meant to be read by every literate American, or as a voice of the Resistance. But it has never been either of those things, nor has it ever sought to be. The Times has a specific niche in the media environment, and it is quite good at being the thing it actually wants to be.