It's no secret that a lot of newspapers and print publications have struggled to make the change from print to digital media. Though they can run ads in print or digital editions, newspapers lose out on that daily, dollar-or-two payment that they had from each reader when print was the only way to access news. This week, the New York Times unveiled a subscription model for nytimes.com.
NYT announced its plans for a subscription service more than a year ago, but the company didn't provide much in the way of details for how it planned to go about it. In an article published yesterday afternoon, the newspaper revealed that starting March 28*, it would be allowing each visitor to view 20 articles a month for free, before putting up a pay wall. Users who wish to access more of nytimes.com will be offered a choice of three packages:
- $15 every four weeks for access to the Web site and a mobile phone app (or $195 for a full year).
- $20 for Web access and an Pad app ($260 a year).
- $35 for an all-access plan ($455 a year).
Anyone already paying for home delivery of the physical issue of the New York Times will have free and unlimited access across all digital platforms except for e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. Those subscribing to NYT’s The International Herald Tribune will also have free digital access.
The limit is intended to draw in subscription revenue from the most loyal readers while not driving away the casual visitors who make up the vast majority of the site’s traffic. Staying true to this approach, there are certain exceptions for the 20-article limit. For instance, those arriving on the NYT from Google, Facebook or Twitter will not see their 20-post limit impacted by that visit. However, those visiting from Google will have a five-article-a-day limit.
"[The move] will allow us to develop new sources of revenue to support the continuation of our journalistic mission and digital innovation, while maintaining our large and growing audience to support our robust advertising business," NYT quotes Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman of the New York Times Company, as saying.
"And this system is our latest, and best, demonstration of where we believe the future of valued content — be it news, music, games or more — is going. The challenge now is to put a price on our work without walling ourselves off from the global network, to make sure we continue to engage with the widest possible audience," he said.
So, will you be paying for access to the New York Times or will you get your news from other, free sources once you hit the pay wall?
*March 28 is when this new scheme kicks in, but it's launching right away for Canadian readers as the Times has chosen Canada as the test market for discovering bugs and issues that need to be resolved before the big roll-out.