Thursday, March 17, 2011

Urgent: NYT to erect paywall on March 28

From a new MarketWatch story just moved:

New York Times Co. said today it would put up its long-awaited paywall at on March 28 in the U.S. and around the world.

The company has launched digital subscriptions in Canada as of Thursday to "fine-tune the customer experience" before the wider rollout. For customers who don't subscribe to the print paper at home, and a SmartPhone app will be priced at $15 a month. All users can see 20 articles a month for free; after that, they wil be asked to pay for site access.

Readers who come to the site through links provided by blogs, social media or search engines will be able to see individual articles, even beyond the 20-story limit. However, the company said, "for some search engines, users will have a daily limit" of free article links. Further, the homepage and all section fronts at will stay free at all times. New York Times Co. stock was up 1.7% in late morning trading.

Gannett's testing
The NYT paywall will be one of the most closely watched among newspaper publishers, so its success is crucial for an industry struggling for new revenue sources.

Within GCI, three U.S. newspapers have been testing full and partial paywalls since early July. They are in Greenville, S.C.; St. George, Utah, and Tallahassee, Fla. CEO Craig Dubow said March 7 that this experiment is continuing, with an eye toward possibly expanding it toward other newspapers. But he once more did not disclose any detailed test results, and did not provide a timetable for a decision.

Earlier: Does GCI's new chief digital officer sound like he favors paywalls?


  1. This is especially interesting: "Readers who come to the site through links provided by blogs, social media or search engines will be able to see individual articles, even beyond the 20-story limit."

  2. These graphs also are interesting, Jim, because they show a different approach to newspaper web sites:
    The model The Times is putting in place, Mr. Doctor said, represents a recognition among some newspaper owners that a successful online business model rests on a relatively small portion of highly engaged readers as opposed to a high volume of page views.

    “What matters is, how can you attract a sizeable group of core readers who are loyal to your news brand and get most of them — not all of them — to pay for access? And that’s the core of the new business,” he said. “It’s a major shift in psychology.”

  3. They'll be a backdoor through Google News in other words. I know Murdoch complains about Google newss all the time, but he could i'm sure outsmart it if he wanted, The Chronicle for Higher Education does... their paywall stands no matter from where you access the website.

    Most importantly, the NYTimes is an internationally recognized paper that people across the world are probably willing to pay for. Will they see a decrease in web traffic, absolutely, but will they be one of the few who can convert this into paying subscribers over time, probably.

    Which is more that can be said about 98% of Gannett's properties.

  4. 12:27 From a purely financial standpoint, yes.

    But a newspaper's influence depends on a large base of readers. And without widespread influence, you face the old question about a tree falling in the woods making no sound. And without influence . . .

  5. I wish them well. Great journalism like theirs is worth paying for. When something very serious like the Japan disaster happens, they are among the few newspapers that still had a bureau in Tokyo.

    I also appreciate the insight that this blog offers and send you a few bucks each quarter.

    I suspect that I am going to be laid off soon. So while I'm putting what I can toward my emergency fund to shield my family, I'm also willing to still pay a nominal amount ($15 a month for the Times and $20 a year for you) for things that truly matter in life, like being informed.

  6. $20/month for an iPad subscription -- when I can get in free through Flipboard? Does not compute.

  7. Just got an email from NYTimes. I think as a subscriber to the paper, I get this for free. That seems to be what the email says.

  8. The paper's influence in a circulation area and the quality of its content are what matter in the long run, whether print or digital.

    I can only speak of my experience with the Westchester/Putnam/Rockland operation. The influence has eroded to the point where the paper is truly irrelevant. Circulation has dropped drastically, and the Web site has been more annoying than enlightening.

    Most people simply don't pay any attention to The Journal News.

    I really wonder if the community papers/Webs can survive. If many are like Westchester, I don't see how they can.

  9. Yawwwwwn! We started a "paywall" for our newspaper's website going on two years ago.

    There was no huge committee, focus group or testmarket consternation - we just did it.

    So far, for our small market newspaper community, so good. Subscribers get everything free. If you don't subscribe to the print product, our online pdfs (web edition) and some other content and archives are closed.

    We make about $1,500 a month on online only annual and monthly subscribers - not a lot, but for our small market, it is GREAT!

    It protects our franchise and our circulation numbers.

    Above all, we just did it. No debating and worrying for years.

    Ahhhh, the joys of not being a Gannett newspaper!

  10. If readers don't start paying for news online we are all doomed. What company gives their product away? Many of you ahve said "I wouldn't pay, I will go some place else." Ok so if no one pays how does a media company stay in business? The model has to change.

  11. Paywalls are smarter than the so-called "e-editions". If I can read the articles already on the website, why do I want to log into another website a few clicks in?

  12. In England, several of the News International (Murdoch empire) papers show how a paywall has led to less influence.

    The Times, The Sunday Times and the News of the World all went behind paywalls late last year. The Times and The Sunday Times are Tory through and through; on major international stories, such as the unrest in the Arab world and the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear accident in Japan, those two "quality newspapers" have become invisible to the global public. News of the World is a "red top" Sunday tabloid similar to its sister daily The Sun; the paywall has allowed the other "red top" papers and the Daily Mail to eclipse NotW.

  13. If I pay for content I don't want ads. Give mean choice. Free = ad have. Paid = not a single damn ad. Simple concept really. iPhone apps do it. If I am testing it out I don't want ads. If I enjoy my experience I pay and don't deal with annoying ads.

    As a consumer give me choices. I demand and expect that - as do all those that are future readers.

  14. Sorry for the mistakes - damn auto correct on my "smart" phone

  15. Maybe that will mean readers will go back to the print product. But then wait...the print product has been gutted now for years into a shell of it's former self and definitely not worth the money spent on it.

    What's next after newspapers have shot themselves in both feet and knees?

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