Will You Pay For News?
Friday, March 18, 2011
I'm curious how many of you will pay for unlimited access to movie reviews by A.O. Scott, Bill Cunningham's slideshows, the thoughts of Maureen Dowd and David Brooks...I could go on and on. In other words, do you want to roam free on the New York Times or remain behind the fence and spend your time looking for loopholes? Maybe you don't care because you get all of your news from NPR ;)
The New York Times announced yesterday that it would launch a paywall at the end of March that will charge readers for access beyond 20 articles a month (and a handful of "Top News" that will remain accessible to everyone).
The three levels of "digital subscription" include: access to all content plus the smartphone app ($15), access to all content plus the tablet app (for iPad & Kindle, $20), or full access to all three for $35 a month.
If you subscribe to the actual paper and have it delivered to your home, you will continue to have access to all the online content.
A very interesting loophole involves social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. If one of your Facebook friends recommends a New York Times article, you can click on the link and read it even if you've reached your 20-article a month limit. Same with Twitter. Suddenly, you can become a much more valuable Facebook friend if you recommend New York Times content.
The Wall Street Journal charges for its content but web-savvy readers have long used the Google loophole: Google search the title of the article you want to read and...Voilà!... you can read the article. The Google loophole won't work with the NT Times paywall because they've limited access through Google searching to 5 articles a day.
Even though The Times has tried a pay-for-content model before (Times Select), that was before the iPad and other tablet devices, the Facebook craze, and Twitter. Perhaps this is just a better time to launch such a model.
This morning on NPR, media analyst Ken Doctor said the Times only has to lure 1% of their 30 million web readers to reach a milestone from which to build a future online subscription base.
Will you pay for access to The New York Times' online content? Do you read the New York Times on a tablet or on your smartphone?