Paying for NY Times online?
Is this the final play the NY Times will be able to make?
Old business model incompatible with modern times?
I’m sure many of you read this weekend that the NY Times is planning to release some kind of payment system for their online news content that has been available for free (advertiser supported) up till now:
“The newspaper is expected to announce in coming weeks that it will institute a metered pay plan in which readers would have access to a limited number of free articles before being invited to subscribe, according to a report in New York magazine that cited sources close to the newsroom.”
Top-heavy like many organizations?
Just like any municipal budget, or union – it’s a reasonable assumption that their cost overhead is too high – and may be the result of decades of lavish comfort and high profit margins. Along with that, are the high salaries for top-level executives and long tenured reporters and editors. Add to that the cost of office real estate and marketing – one should think of where to cut that fat from their own operation prior to taking from their customers during tough economic times. Seems like they don’t want to tighten their belts while we ride out the storm.
I believe this to be of paramount importance, considering there are plenty of other free sources to get the same information that the NY Times publishes. It’s not like they have an entirely unique product that is essential in your daily life (electricity, water, etc.) How hard is it to re-think their model without impacting their readers? Cut pay where necessary, mobilize their offices, employees, etc?
Here are some comments from New York Magazine that I agreed with:
- “Had they done this from the outset with their site, it would have been workable and wise. I believe by attempting to do it now, they will ultimately fail. It seems to me that on the web, when people have been given something for free, for a period of years no less, they are rarely apt to suddenly develop a willingness to pay for it. Besides, there are too many free alternatives. Given difficult economic times, people will accept a lesser quality and just move elsewhere.”
- “If the NY Times is worried about advertisers cutting back due to the recession, what do they think the the average person will do when faced with fees for online access? Since the NY Times online readership dropped precipitously during good economic times, it’s difficult to see why would they expect that charging for online access now would be any different. If anything, a sharp reduction of online subscribers seems likely.”
- “They are no longer journalists: they are left-wing stenographers taking dictation with whatever nonsense liberals will feed them, without questioning the material. With this kind of coverage (or not covering stories that would have hounded conservatives for months), what’s the point of reading the rag? You can get MSNBC for free.”
Poll: Would you pay for the NY Times online?[poll id=”89″]
Share your thoughts in the comments section!