“Our readers know that the Times brings them authoritative journalism, news and opinion,”...“and we believe they are willing to pay for that content online just as many of them are already paying a significant price for it in print.”--Arthur Sulzberger [New York Times publisher]
That is crap. Many articles I have linked to weren't worth the effort, uninformative, full of errors. It's bad enough to pay a high monthly price to use the Internet but now we must pay for what we find. This is just a means to fill a gap that the print product has failed to deliver. How about this...pay for the article and not see one single advertisement or some ad scrolling across the screen. Will this concept deny access to the humor section or the obituaries? And what about libraries [that are supposed to be free]. Will the libraries have to block newspaper sites or be forced to subscribe?
"NY Times’ Sulzberger Explains Philosophy Behind Charging for Articles"
Eliot Van Buskirk
March 3rd, 2010
The New York Times
Eliot Van Buskirk
March 3rd, 2010
The New York Times
New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. plans to start charging readers for access to more than an as-yet-undetermined number of articles per month on NYTimes.com starting next year.
At the Financial Times’ Digital Media and Business Conference on Tuesday in London, he said, “print will remain an important part of our long-range strategy” — even as younger readers used to reading things digitally become a larger percentage of the populace — but that without charging for online and mobile content, the publication’s quality would suffer.
That said, Sulzberger is in no rush. As he said at a recent PaidContent conference the New York Times will wait until 2011 to start charging for unlimited access to its articles, because “you don’t get any prizes for getting it fast — you get prizes for getting it right.” Out of the Times’ current digital strategies, which also includes a mobile app, he said the NYTimes.com website offers the most promising opportunity to charge users.
“Our readers know that the Times brings them authoritative journalism, news and opinion,” said Sulzberger, “and we believe they are willing to pay for that content online just as many of them are already paying a significant price for it in print.”
Indeed — the Times charges $5.85 to $11.70 per week depending on where a subscriber lives. Print subscribers will continue to have unlimited free access to NYTimes.com, but one imagines that a digital-only subscription for the web, cellphone, and tablet would cost much less. (We chose $3 per month in the poll below; the Times asked its users last summer if they would pay $5 per month.)
Sulzberger continues to omit price from public discussions of the digital version of the Times, but in the music and book publishing industries, companies have attempted to set digital prices at about the same as their physical counterparts with mixed results.
With the right price, The Times might succeed in converting some of its loyal print readers who want to pay less to read it online, as opposed to reading it on expensive paper. And the “first few articles are free” plan may also succeed in snagging new subscriptions from readers whose careers or other interests make the Times more valuable to them than it is to the average person.
But the problem, when it comes to the vast majority of the Times’ potential subscribers, is that unlike print readers, readers on the web — and to a lesser extent, those who read through a mobile app — are surrounded by the immediate availability of nearly every other publication on the planet. And these days, every news story seems to appear on tens or hundreds of sites within a few hours of appearing online — especially if it originates on a popular site like NYTimes.com. Casual web users who hit the New York Times paywall after trying to read one free story more than they are allotted per month may just click their back buttons, or search for the facts in the headline in Google and read the story somewhere else.
In other words, as long as competing bloggers and/or journalists can read the New York Times, a reader may not have to in order to get the information it originates — whether through a reliable summary or a slightly twisted version, as the case may be. And people simply might be more willing to read those than they are to whip out their credit cards, whether for a monthly subscription or for metered access that charges them incrementally for each article they read beyond the free allotment.
One answer could be branded mobile and tablet apps that are specially tailored to look good on that device, and which erect a small barrier between a reader and competing publications, like the one the NYTimes already offers for free on the iPhone. Unlike web browsers, which can load any web page, the New York Times controls which content appears in its app, so readers who use free versions mobile and tablet apps could be more readily tempted into paying than those who access the publication through the all-seeing web.
“Traditionally, people went to their favorite news sources to find the information they wanted. Now, more and more… information is finding them. Smartphones are just the beginning of this new way of thinking about the information interaction process,” said Sulzberger, adding that augmented reality applications could also play a part in the Times’ digital distribution strategy in years to come.