New York Times pay wall will fail, hopefully

By Mike on 7:08 pm

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The New York Times is setting itself up for a battle with readers. The newspaper giant has unveiled a new, and convoluted plan to force people to pay for web content. Newspapers have always provided their articles for free online. With people used to getting that content for nothing, I question whether people will actually fork over the dough.

The pricing plan is as complex as you can get. Readers get a scant 20 articles for free each month. For $15 per month, you get full access to the NYT website, plus a smartphone app. $25 gets you an iPad app, and $35 grants full access.

The pricing is entirely complex and borders on gouging. Most digital copies are available for a scant $15 a month no matter where you view them. I'm a big fan of PressDisplay's app. They give me all-you-can-eat access to thousands digital papers for $30/mo. NYT's $35/mo is entirely unreasonable.

The New York Times wants us to return to this, online, at twice the price.

Now, I am a journalist. At least that's what my fancy diploma says. I know the news media is struggling. Newspapers in particular are facing funding shortfalls and staff downsizing. That's why I write this site instead of getting paid to work on someone else's.

The problem is ad revenue. Online papers never did develop it beyond a few banners. It certainly falls far short of print editions. The sites were originally meant to be supplements to print editions, but that has changed.

I can't see more than a handful of people paying such an outrageous fee for online news. There are no delivery or production costs. You're only paying the journalists and web developers. Logically the papers should be cheaper. People are not going to jump into paying for something that was free for the better part of two decades. If this plan fails, it could spell disaster for the NYT. Hopefully it does. The news media needs to start innovating and this isn't the way to do it.

1 comments for this post

Totally agree with you.

Posted on 20 March 2011 at 23:28