What to make of NYT’s millionth mobile user

Finance guys are fun to watch because they bet real money on their predictions, so it’s notable that Seeking Alpha believes The New York Times Company stock is headed up due to mobile usage. Alpha suggests there are now more than 1 million people who read NYT via handsets every month, and that the scaling trend line could take NYT’s total web traffic from 28 million monthly users today to 70 million by 2015.

There are implications in the logic, of course. Alpha’s calculation is based on 106 million mobile page views in June and a guess that the average mobile user reads 100 pages a month. If the real answer is 200 pages per user — say, 6 per day — 1 million mobile users is now 500,000. Second, the NYT mobile app has been downloaded 4.5 million times — so even if the real mobile readership is 1 million per month, that’s only 22% of app-grabbers who find the Times intriguing enough to engage via mobile. Third, the iPhone, and now the iPad, are driving bursts in experimentation by consumers who download apps … but there is always a falling usage pattern over time. Given the comical missed forecasts of mobile advertising revenues, the jury’s still out on whether mobile adoption among marquee web sites will really scale.

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