Main | Thursday, March 17, 2011

New York Times Announces Paywall

Beginning March 28th, you'll be allowed to read exactly twenty New York Times articles per month. After that, you've gotta pay.
Once readers click on their 21st article, they will have the option of buying one of three digital news packages — $15 for a month of access to the Web site and a mobile phone app; $20 for Web access and an iPad app; and $35 for an all-access plan. All subscribers who receive the paper through home delivery will have free and unlimited access across all Times digital platforms except, for now, e-readers like the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook. “A few years ago it was almost an article of faith that people would not pay for the content they accessed via the Web,” Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company, said in his annual State of The Times remarks, which were delivered to employees on Thursday morning.
Even the Times itself is unsure if this will work.
The debate consuming the newspaper business now centers on the question that The Times hopes to answer: Can you reverse 15 years of consumer behavior and build a business around online subscriptions? Many believe the answer is no. No American news organization as large as The Times has attempted to put its content behind a pay wall after allowing unrestricted access. The move is being closely watched by anxious publishers, which have warily embraced the Web and struggled with how to turn online journalism into a profitable business.
This raises an interesting dilemma for bloggers, who even if they subscribe, may hesitate to excerpt articles that their readers may not be able to access in full.

UDPATE: Andrew Sullivan notes the exception for stories linked by blogs, which I totally missed.
If I read it correctly, it almost privileges links from blogs and social media against more direct access. Which makes it a gift to the blogosphere. Anyway, that's my first take: and it's one of great relief. We all want to keep the NYT in business (well, almost all of us). But we also don't want to see it disappear behind some Great NewsCorp-Style Paywall. It looks to me as if they have gotten the balance just about right.

Labels: , ,

comments powered by Disqus