New York Times Again Planning To Charge For On Line Access

The New York Times is reportedly on the verge of announcing plans to charge for access to their site again. They have not decided how they will charge:

The Times has considered three types of pay strategies. One option was a more traditional pay wall along the lines of The Wall Street Journal, in which some parts of the site are free and some subscription-only. For example, editors and business-side executives discussed a premium version of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s DealBook section. Another option was the metered system. The third choice, an NPR-style membership model, was abandoned last fall, two sources explained. The thinking was that it would be too expensive and cumbersome to maintain because subscribers would have to receive privileges (think WNYC tote bags and travel mugs, access to Times events and seminars).

On line advertising has not been enough to support print media which offers their content on line but it is difficult for newspapers to charge when so much material is available free on line. Only newspapers with unique material stand a chance at being successful with charging. The Wall Street Journal is one paper which has been successful. Initially I considered it a bargain to subscribe to the on-line version as a far less expensive to my previous  hard copy subscription. Since Rupert Murdoch purchased the paper I have considered not renewing but so far have renewed.

I also subscribed to the previous attempt by The New York Times to charge for content but they took the opposite approach compared to The Wall Street Journal. The Times provided news content for free and charged for their columnists while the WSJ charges for much of their informational content while providing their editorial pages for free.

I was not surprised that people were willing to give up reading columnists if they had to pay. This ultimately hurt them by reducing international consideration of their viewpoints. For columnists, wide spread discussion of their views is part of their value and reducing access was counter productive. The Times has a better chance of getting away with charging for news content if they provide enough samples to demonstrate its value, especially if other top papers should also begin to charge.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Shawn Mitchell Show says:

    New York Times Again Planning To Charge For On Line AccessJanuary 17, 2010 — Ron Chusid http://bit.ly/82xEfd)

  2. 2
    Shawn Mitchell Show says:

    New York Times Again Planning To Charge For On Line AccessJanuary 17, 2010 — Ron Chusid http://bit.ly/82xEfd)

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