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Despite Billionaire’s Backing, LA Times Far From Meeting Digital Subscription Goals

The Los Angeles Times Building in downtown Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Times Building in downtown Los Angeles, California
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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Digital subscriptions at the LA Times are far from meeting expectations, according to a memo sent out to staff and obtained by The Poynter Institute.

The newspaper’s goal was to double its 150,000 subscriptions in 2019 but the paper has only 13,000 subscriptions this year, a number far from the goal. Leaders say although the publication added subscriptions, significant cancellations at the same time have had a serious impact. According to the memo, digital conversations must now be the priority. Although the numbers seem to spell trouble for the paper, leaders say they’re optimistic they can reach their goals in the next few years.


Tom Jones, author with The Poynter Institute, he acquired a memo sent out to LA Times staff which detailed the trouble with digital subscriptions; he tweets @TomWJones 

Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, he’s written about the LA Times digital subscription numbers; he tweets @jbenton

Ken Doctor, media analyst who focuses on the transformation of consumer media in the digital age; author of “Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010); he tweets @kdoctor