Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli may have to eat his words after telling attendees at the Asian American Journalists Association conference earlier this month that he doesn’t intend to erect a paywall at the paper, since since he is “quite content being the largest free premium newspaper online.
Well that was then and this is now. The latest comScore data for July shows that the Post now trails The Los Angeles Times in web traffic.
New York Times: 32,394
Los Angeles Times: 16,720
USA Today: 15,397
Wall Street Journal: 14,132
The Post trailed the Times by the slimmest of margins, but as the Nieman Journalism Lab discovered The Times’s traffic is headed up ( +5.4%), compared to the Post, which saw visitor numbers drop (-9%) in June.
With the Post’s profits down by 50% in the latest quarter, the last thing Brauchli needs is to see his web traffic go in the same direction as the paper’s print circulation, leaving him with little choice but to try a paywall at some point.