New York Times to Go Behind a Paywall Next Year

East Coast Elitist

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New York Times to Go Behind a Paywall Next Year

The New York Times announced last week that it’s going to start charging a subscription fee for readers who want to view more than a certain number of articles, beginning in 2011. As the Times itself said, reaction ranged from enthusiastic to withering—from what I could tell, the predominant mood seemed to be withering resignation, and no one was really surprised. Everyone knew this day was coming—not just for the NTY, but for most news organizations that rely on original content and reporting. (I think The Guardian has pledged it will remain free for the foreseeable future).

From David Carr at the NYT:

People who remain reflexively bullish on free ignore the fact that the clock is ticking on many of the legacy businesses that produce that content. The new approach is an effort to replace that ticking clock with a meter, and its success is not assured but to sit still would be dumb. It is not the job of The New York Times or any other mainstream media company to give away its content until it can no longer afford to do so. By requiring certain kinds of digital consumers to participate, The Times is ensuring it will be in business for a long time to come. It could be a smaller business, one with less reach, but it will remain an engine of news and commerce.
dot passed on this article on the move that critiques it as an unsustainable business model:

Flexible Or Paradoxical? Why The NY Times' Plan Is Inherently Self-Limiting

So are people ready to pay for content? For what it’s worth, I would have preferred a non-profity/foundation model—I’d be willing to donate, but I don’t want to be nickled and dimed to death for pieces I’ll never read. Or a micropayment system, a la itunes. I just think—like the music business—news orgs have waited too long to figure out a working paid model. There’s a generation out there that is just not going to pay—they will likely keep their older, more well-heeled audience, but they’re going to have a hard time getting new readers.
 


East Coast Elitist

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35--that's hilarious. Of course Newsday had gone way downhill and tabloid-y before it tried the paid access thing.

One thing about new audiences--a few years ago I tried to browse the Irish Times to get a handle on what was going on before I made a trip, and butted up against its paywall (and why I found p.ie :)). Even now that it's free, I haven't gone back--I think I have it in my google reader, but I don't look at it. Internet readers are flighty and rarely give difficult sites a second chance.
 

liamfoley

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They already make you pay to use their archives which p's me off since it is all I want from them
 

TommyO'Brien

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Given that in the industry the word on the grapevine is that the NYT is in dire trouble, and not likely to survive, it is hardly surprising that they have decided to charge for copy. Copy doesn't write itself. It is damn expensive to produce.

The NYT, the Washington Post, and a number of leading newspapers are in big trouble. Already some papers that it was thought would never fail have closed. In Ireland too a number of newspapers are in trouble. All the INM titles are in danger, as is the Irish Times and the Sunday Tribune is as good as gone. I wouldn't bet on the major INM titles being around by this time next year.
 

H.R. Haldeman

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Bump for an old thread to mention that two of the best websites for US news and politics have announced in recent days that they are also introducing paywalls.

Last week, it was Politico:

POLITICO to test metered paywall - POLITICO.com

And today, an announcement from the WaPo:

Washington Post to phase in a paid online subscription model - The Washington Post

For fans of US politics, this is sad news. But interesting that it appears these major organisations do believe a paywall model is viable. Crafty old Murdoch seems to have gotten it right again.

Others following this model include Andrew Sullivan's new, independent Dish:
Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan to relaunch the Dish behind paywall | Media | guardian.co.uk
Towards Tablets And Paying For Content « The Dish

And of course the likes of Glenn Beck and Alex Jones also have highly lucrative paywall services.
 

stopdoingstuff

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Awwww, now I will have to get the unchallenging view of one side of the acceptable spectrum of establishment opinion elsewhere. I mean, just what am I to do without Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman to explain the world to me?
 

ruserious

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Well the Financial Times one is easily averted.
 

John300

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I miss The Times of London the most. The Telegraph will go paywall soon I think. The Guardian is bankrupt and will shut down in a few years.
 

NYCKY

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Bump for an old thread to mention that two of the best websites for US news and politics have announced in recent days that they are also introducing paywalls.

Last week, it was Politico:

POLITICO to test metered paywall - POLITICO.com

And today, an announcement from the WaPo:

Washington Post to phase in a paid online subscription model - The Washington Post

For fans of US politics, this is sad news. But interesting that it appears these major organisations do believe a paywall model is viable. Crafty old Murdoch seems to have gotten it right again.

Others following this model include Andrew Sullivan's new, independent Dish:
Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan to relaunch the Dish behind paywall | Media | guardian.co.uk
Towards Tablets And Paying For Content « The Dish

And of course the likes of Glenn Beck and Alex Jones also have highly lucrative paywall services.
This is sad news, I love politico. Given that the site is a one trick pony with its focus on US politics it is likely that the self selection of readership will result ultimately in an expansion of the paywall. The NYT has tried different things with its online content, including free access but found success with its current model and the WSJ has always been behind a paywall.

Generally online news content is fungible in that people will move elsewhere rather than pay but if you have a good enough product readers will pay.

Politico is probably one of the few sites I would be willing to pay for.
 

Glaucon

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This is sad news, I love politico. Given that the site is a one trick pony with its focus on US politics it is likely that the self selection of readership will result ultimately in an expansion of the paywall. The NYT has tried different things with its online content, including free access but found success with its current model and the WSJ has always been behind a paywall.

Generally online news content is fungible in that people will move elsewhere rather than pay but if you have a good enough product readers will pay.

Politico is probably one of the few sites I would be willing to pay for.
Or they'll find a way around it, like downloading illegally. :)
I used to get around the NYT's paywall by deleting my cache and cookies every time I reached ten articles. I'll give it another go to see if it still works.
 

Schomberg

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This should be fun. Watching these people inflict the fatal blow to themselves.
 

NYCKY

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Or they'll find a way around it, like downloading illegally. :)
I used to get around the NYT's paywall by deleting my cache and cookies every time I reached ten articles. I'll give it another go to see if it still works.

ha ha, I used to do the same but if a site is completely behind a paywall, not sure what you can do or say in the case of the Economist, where a limited number of articles are free, the rest are for subscribers only.
 

Analyzer

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How to get around the paywall.....choose another site.
 

devnull

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How to get around the paywall.....choose another site.
That's going to be the difference between a winner and a loser in the new media landscape.

Something like the Financial Times appeals to a global niche, its content is often essential reading for people in that niche and its paywall offers people a taste of what they're missing. If you're interested in finance outside the United States, there isn't an equivalent alternative.

In contrast, there just isn't enough worthwhile, distinctive content produced by any of our national media for most people to justify paying for one broadsheet's content when another's is available for free. An advertising-based model might be viable for one, if all the others were behind paywalls, so there might be an element of chicken involved in not going behind one.
 

dammit_im_mad

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great news!

It's an own goal from a right wing propaganda rag. Hope it sinks them.
 

nicht besonders

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Interesting. As others have said, for niche publications like the FT, paywalls seem to be workable. Perhaps Politico can provide the unique service that people are willing to pay for, though I wouldn't be sure...

Also, the FT's paywall is a porous one, as is the NY Times and plenty of other sites, where there are certain limits on usage for free readers, and then you have to pay if you want more. The (London) Times one, at least the last time I checked, wasn't as sophisticated. I've seen people say that this was deliberate, in that it was designed not so much to generate revenue itself, as to shore up paper sales, which makes sense to me.

From an Irish perspective, there's been a lot of chatter in the last year or so about the Indo and IT websites going behind a paywall. I would be intrigued to see this happening, not least because the IT in particular has butchered its previously distinct and pretty decent website. I've found myself using it less and less since they changed it. I'm not sure how many people will be willing to pay for it either.

edit: The SBP developed some sort of paywall last year IIRC, obviously they're in big trouble now, but would be interesting to see if that move in itself, isolated from the bigger issues at TCH etc, was in any sense "successful"...

I miss The Times of London the most. The Telegraph will go paywall soon I think. The Guardian is bankrupt and will shut down in a few years.
Give me a number for this "few years" and I might lay that bet. What are we talking? 2, 3, 4 years?
 
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Ren84

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How's the Times doing since it went behind a paywall?
 


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