• Paper aims for $800 million in Web subscriptions, advertising
  • Times says younger, global readers will offset print declines

New York Times Co. plans to double its digital revenue in the next four years by increasing the number of paid online subscribers and attracting more young and international readers.

The Times generated $400 million in revenue through online advertising and subscriptions last year and aims to bring in $800 million by 2020, Times Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson and Executive Editor Dean Baquet said in a memo to staff Wednesday.

The Times reached a milestone on July 30 as the number of paid digital subscribers surpassed 1 million. As more people get their news online, especially on smartphones, the newspaper’s print advertising revenue has declined. It fell by 13 percent in the second quarter.

“The next million must be fought for and won over with the Times on their phones,” the company said in a strategy document released Wednesday called “Our Path Forward.” Both digital revenue and digital subscribers have been growing by double-digit rates, the company said. The paper needs to increase the pace in coming years “to return the Times to a position of growth and outpace the slow but inevitable decline in print.”

Earlier this year, New York Times Co. stopped charging for its mobile app NYT Now after failing to attract enough paying readers. The paper has been aggressively seeking new methods of online distribution. On Wednesday, the Times was one of about 30 publishers that is partnering with Google on a new mobile news platform aimed at loading articles faster on smartphones. The Times also agreed to publish some of its content directly to mobile news readers introduced this year by Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. And the paper is developing new digital lifestyle products, including a popular cooking app.

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