News is a funny thing. Everyone wants it, but very few are willing to pay for it. That has resulted in many online editions of newspapers being unable to decide whether to go behind a pay wall or not and the New York Times is no exception.
The 30 million monthly readers of NYTimes.com have up until now had unfettered access to the content. But from 28 March most of the content will be heading behind a pay wall but casual readers will still be able to access up to 20 articles a month without paying. Subscribers who want access to everything on the site will have to pay and executives at the Times have come up with some labyrinthine options for people looking to subscribe.
Among the four week options are $15 for web and mobile access, $20 for web access and a dedicated iPad app or if you just want to have it all you can pay $35 every four weeks. The Times has said that everyone who has a subscription to the print edition of the paper (remember those?) will have free and unlimited access across all Times digital platforms except, for now, e-readers like the Kindle and Nook. Subscribers to the International Herald Tribune will also have access to the online editions.
The move by the Times to head for the pay wall having allowed free access to the content for so long is a potentially dangerous move. The road to pay wall success is littered with many publishers not as famous or respected as the New York Times. Announcing the move, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company, said: “This move is an investment in our future. It will allow us to develop new sources of revenue to support the continuation of our journalistic mission and digital innovation, while maintaining our large and growing audience to support our robust advertising business. And this system is our latest, and best, demonstration of where we believe the future of valued content – be it news, music, games or more – is going.”
While $15 every four weeks for newspapers may seem reasonable considering you are getting almost 30 editions of the paper, when compared to News Corp’s The Daily, which is about to go into subscription mode for 99¢ a week, it is going to be a difficult journey for the Times to make this model a success.
Source: New York Times