Mar 17, 2011

The paywall debuts at the New York Times

In a letter to readers, New York Times Arthur Sulzberger Jr. explains the newspaper's paywall system, which launches today in Canada and will come to the U.S. and the rest of the world March 28.

 Boiled down, readers who pay for home delivery of the paper will have access to everything. Browsing front pages online remains free. Online readers can open 20 stories a month for free - after that, they will be prompted to become a digital subscriber (plans and pricing are here). Different points of access - smartphone app, tablet app, the words - come at different prices. Then there's this interesting tidbit:
Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles. 
This will ensure that other news outlets and aggregaters will continue to link to Times articles and give the paper the free publicity that comes from that. Of course, intensive aggregaters will be forced to pay for the plus-20 access.

The strategy obviously is to push people who read the Times frequently to subscribe. Casual readers will still see the articles for free. Will it work? If it does, expect to see a similar model come to a paper near you.


Anonymous said...

I predict this will work! I also predict Dean Singleton will become a Tibetan monk, that Freedom Newspapers will become self-sufficient and that the world will be hit by a ginormous asteroid and come to an end on May 12, 2011. Of course, all bets are off if Japan implodes or if Dean gives anyone a raise.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a reasonable and balanced approach, but I seriously doubt it will generate much revenue. It may in fact may drive away traffic by viewers who don't fully understand how the paywall works, while others "save" their views, never come close to 20 and end up getting their news elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Are they that arrogant? Exactly what will masses be paying for that they can't get somewhere else?

If I have to wager who will win the online content battle and revenue model, it won't be on a newspaper.

Note to Mrs O' out, that lantern is pretty close to your cow.

Anonymous said...

So what if it drives away traffic? The high traffic / advertising model isn't generating substantial revenue.

Why should they keep giving away their product for free?

If you open a store with nothing but free merchandise, you may have tons of "customers," but you'll also be on the road to bankruptcy.

"Customers" who don't pay anything are useless to a business. To continue to cater to them is utterly retarded.

Anonymous said...

6:56, you are correct to a point. Many sites are free and the sites monetize the eyeballs by selling advertising. If it isn't worth the money or they don't have enough eyeballs, it will fail. That will be the outcome here.

Todd said...

I'm sure some smart people spent far longer thinking about this move than we have arm-chairing it, and I hope it is good for NYT. That said, does it risk the Times' reach and relevancy as its readership contracts to a smaller, socio-economically defined circle? I know Thais who read daily, but consider 15 bucks a good day's pay and out of reach to them as consumers.