The Wall Street Journal reports on the New York Times’ new pay wall:
Under the new system, expected to be rolled out next month, the Times will sell an Internet-only subscription for unlimited access to the Times site, as well as a broader digital package that bundles the Times online with its application on the iPad, according to a person familiar with the matter. Subscribers to the print edition of the paper will get full online privileges at no additional cost, Times executives have said.
Online readers would get free access to a certain number of pages on the website each month before they are prompted to sign up for a subscription for additional material, an approach currently used by the Financial Times, which is published by Pearson PLC. Executives from New York Times Co. settled on that model over a year ago after they decided it was the best way to tackle the dilemma facing many news organizations: How to balance the need to make up for lost print readership and ad revenue with the risk of taking themselves out of an Internet ecosystem where so much similar material is free
Apparently they didn’t learn a lesson from the Times in London:
While other sites have held steady, the Times’ market share has dropped from 4.37% during the week ending May 22nd to 2.67% last week. Its average session time has also fallen from an average of five and half to three minutes. However, as Hitwise’s Robin Goad notes: “That figure is actually higher than many people would have expected, given that a lots of visitors will be spending very little time there if they are choosing not to register.”
I wonder what the models look like. The New York Times currently brings in $100M per year in ad revenue. That will most likely fall off with a drop in users and session time. I wonder if the number of paying subscribers will make up for it.
This will be interesting to see how it plays out – it could set a precedent for other publications if they are successful.
Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the WSJ’s model, they only charge for certain premium content. It gives them a better incentive to provide better content to the people who pay.