Letters of Mass Construction

New York Times Slapping Down the Paywall

They said they were going to do it and they have kept their word. Today, the New York Times slapped a paywall on their site effective March 28th in the United States (Canada gets a head start on the whole paying thing because, hell, whose afraid of Canada complaining). That intake of oxygen you heard today was from newspaper publishers hoping this whole paying thing actually works out.

I have my doubts. Not because I won’t pay, I will. I love the New York Times and the price seems fair. I have never been one of those “everything should be damn well free people”. Content requires creators. If you want good content, you need good creators. To get good creators you have to pay them. I think newspapers are important. I wish more people read them. Not nearly enough people are informed about what is going on in the world.

Newspapers have been in trouble for a long time. This is not the first crack at making people pay for content. All of the previous attempts have pretty much been failures (with the exception of the Wall Street Journal which has a built in captive audience). The problem comes into play when you think about how many places out there don’t charge for information and news. How many people are going to be willing to pay for the New York Times because they happen to think their particular brand of journalism is written better and more interesting to read?

As I said, I am one of those people willing to pay. I think there will be a lot more who will also be willing to pay. Is it going to be enough to save them. Plus, if it works for the Times will it work for everyone else?

I think the advent of the iPad has given newspaper’s a chance here but they are only going to get one shot at it. If they blow this I think all that will be left is the funeral march.

I am not filled with confidence. As far as I am concerned the New York Times came right out the gate with a mistake. They have decided to charge for access on tablets and phones differently. If you pay for a subscription on a tablet you don’t get to access the information on your phone and vise versa. I am not sure why they have decided to go this route and it’s sure to turn a few people off. The world of technology is dominated by people who access content on multiple devices. I predict the two tiered pricing system will be the first thing the Times kills. I am pulling for them, I really am. By the way newspaper publishers, you can let out that breath now. Your faces are turning blue and it’s still going to be a few more months before this whole thing plays out.

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2 Responses to “New York Times Slapping Down the Paywall”

  1. Leslie says:

    I wonder how they determined their strange pricing structure. I think the unlimited access price of $35 per month is a bit high when we consider how The NYTIMES is competing with so many free sources. And when they had the paywall in the past for “premium content” they were not successful in generating revenue. I would, indeed, pay something for the quality journalism the Times provides, but $35 per month, on top of all the other fees I pay for access to information (other magazine & newspaper subscriptions that are much less expensive, cell phone, internet service, etc.) I’m not sure I can justify the extra $420 per year.

    • csdaley says:

      I totally agree with you on the $35 (this was my point at the ned of blog with double charging). I will only pay the $20 to have it on my tablet. I think thair is a fair price and more than willing to pay it. I have no ideal why the dual pricing structure seems like a good ideal.

      At a minimum they should have goine with an OS pricing structure. If you use iOS you pay this much for all devices. This way you could cover the costs for programming all mobile devices.

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