According to CNN, the Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan revealed the paper’s digital side surpassed one million digital-only subscribers earlier this year. This puts the paper in third place behind the Wall Street Journal (1.27 million paid digital subscribers) and the New York Times (2.3 million).
The article credits “overwhelming interest in the Trump presidency” for driving strong subscriptions overall. But I do wonder, in the Washington Post’s case, how much of that might also derive from a push from Post-owner Jeff Bezos‘s other main business venture.
I noticed lately, when I got my new Fire HD 8 and factory-reset my old Fire 7, that the new operating system implementation came with a Washington Post application prominently placed on the Fire’s home screen, as well as placement for the Post at the top of the launcher’s “Newsstand” panel. The app touts twice-daily updates, and special offers for Amazon subscribers.
The Fire—especially the $50 7″ version—is one of Amazon’s top-selling devices, and quite possibly the top-selling tablet in the world right now due to its low price coupled with a recognizable brand name. Of course, not everyone who has the app included on their tablet is necessarily going to subscribe to it (I know I’m not planning on it!) but it does at least put it within easy reach and keep it in those peoples’ minds. And no other news source has quite that level of ready access to that many potential new readers all at once.
And I imagine Amazon also pushes the Washington Post through prime placement on the Amazon website and in other ventures as well. It’s funny that the CNN article doesn’t even bring this up as a possible contributing factor. And who knows; maybe in the overall scheme of things it’s only a minor element. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to consider how Amazon’s influence might also be helping to extend the Washington Post’s. In a time when many newspapers are struggling to find new readership and sources of revenue, that might just be one of the things it’s going to take to survive.