2011 to spell the end of free New York Times online access

The New York Times will begin charging readers to fully access to its web site starting in 2011, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The controversial and risky move, aimed at drawing more revenue through the papers online publication without driving away advertisers, is likely to upset many Internet users who rely on the New York Times as their daily source of news.

After months of consideration, the Times said that it will be putting a metered system in place which will allow free access to a limited number of articles and then begin charging users for additional content. The Times did not disclose how many articles will be available for free, or how much it will charge in order to read more. Subscribers to the printed version of the publication will continue to have free access to the online publication.

This isn’t the first time that the Times have charged for access to its web content. Its first attempt in 1996 only attracted about 4,000 subscribers, and was quickly tossed aside. A later trial run called Times Select required a $50 annual subscription to read columnists and drew 221,000 customers, but the project ended because it impaired advertisement sales.

The idea behind the new approach is to bring in casual readers with free articles while gaining subscription revenue from those who wish to read more full-length articles; some may even look at this as being a “bait and switch” tactic.

Search engines will still be able to index the newspaper’s online articles so that they will benefit from the traffic that is generated by search results.

"[The company] is guided by the fact that our news and information are being featured in an increasingly broad range of end-user devices and services, and our pricing plans and policies must reflect this vision," said Janet Robinson, CEO of New York Times Co.

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31 Comments

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Surely if the search engines are still able to access the content but users aren't it counts as cloaking and Google will drop them out of the search rankings?

Hahahaha good luck with that New York Times! Oh yeah, few people read it currently when it is free, if you want NOBODY to subscribe to NYT Online when you charge for it then go right ahead. News print is dying and everybody knows it. Raising prices and getting rid of free subscriptions is NOT the way to save it. It doesn't take a genius to see this......or maybe it does.......

Good luck to them. Though I think that the article should really read
"2011 to spell the end of New York Times online".

This will have no negative effect on the business for the NY Times because the people that read it already pay for it anyway. This will actually make the company more money since they don't have to pay for the production and man power of delivering the papers for readers that don't want a physical copy, not to mention readers in other countries. The current site has barely any advertisements, much less than Neowin, which has barely any anyway, so it is not like they are making a huge profit from those compared to what they would make if they charged. Again, the key is that the people who really care about reading the paper already pay for it anyway.

Have never used a paid site, will never use a paid site and if they all go paid I guess I will just be even more in the dark than I am right now!

i would never pay to read news as there is other sources that may or may not offer more and for free, all they want is to gouge readers as they want more money which they already have more than enough so to fix it gouge all the big corporations as they all have plenty to go around and give the rest a break and they want you to pay for there failures. if they would do things right they would not need to do this crap.

I have no issue with paid content as long as the quality of the journalism is of a high standard. Almost anyone with net access can write what they claim to be article when in fact its an 'opinion' and usually a not properly informed one.

Another reason that I support it is because media companies put so much out there for free and other sites just go and rip the content and make a free buck from their own advertising (and they don't make much from their own advertising as it is).

I don't know whether this will work though, the people who subscribe to paid sites are only going to use 1 or 2 sites, I don't really know if the market will be there for them. If this work then get used to it because other companies will quickly jump on board.

My issue with offering cut-down articles is that its probably going to end up with people only reading 10% of the article and then they'll form their opinions from incomplete information, if that's the case they are better off with all or nothing.

Lawl, there are several ways off the top of my head that could bypass this. As for reading the news, my iPod Touch with the Newsstand app, combined with several of my favourite news sites RSS feeds does the trick for me.

BBC ftw.

For those who think that iSlate is going to change how readers get there news need to take a look at the already eReaders that are now available. Kindle, Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook, etc., already offer most periodicals in different formats for a specific reader.

I've always been interested in this. I almost bought a Kindle just for the ability to have the Times sent to me automatically every day.

I enjoy reading the times. I like they're style. This doesn't affect me because I already subscribe, but I think if they do the model correctly it could draw more revenue.

Local news can be exclusive because nobody else besides the people in your region probably won't care about it, but people will not pay for mainstream media because it is avaliable elsewhere for free..

I really think when newscorps goes "paid" Murdock assumes all the other companies would follow his lead. However... I think he's mistaking a big mistake.

jstillion said,
I really think when newscorps goes "paid" Murdock assumes all the other companies would follow his lead. However... I think he's mistaking a big mistake.

+1

naap51stang said,
People still READ the NY Times? I thought it was only used to wrap fish & to line bird cages.

.....don't forget about using it to light the BBQ Grill or when the wife forgot to pack the toilet paper on the camping trip.

naap51stang said,
People still READ the NY Times? I thought it was only used to wrap fish & to line bird cages.

Nothing wrong with the Times but I'll echo those who are saying it will be hard to put the free content genie back in the bottle at this point.

Edited by neodorian, Jan 20 2010, 8:16pm :

neodorian said,

Nothing wrong with the Times but I'll echo those who are saying it will be hard to put the free content genie back in the bottle at this point.

If was premium content (i.e. content that is vital for you and you can't find outside this newspaper) and i will be happy for pay for it, but it is not, in fact even for a free product it is just a average.

It'll be interesting to see if they can continue down this path as a usable business plan. Also if it works, it might move other companies to follow suit.

Meph said,
The BBC News website will always be free. I've always used it and always will.

Never say Never or Never say always. (I dont know anything specific to BBC but what how things change these days, there is something about counting chicken's that comes to mind)

Meph said,
The BBC News website will always be free. I've always used it and always will.

No, we(Brits) are paying for it out of our license fee.

acnpt said,

No, we(Brits) are paying for it out of our license fee.


Yeah, exactly. BBC also don't make newspapers. ABC News and SBS News in Australia however... they will always be free :D

Well... they are paid for in taxes, but still.

Edited by mikeyx12, Jan 23 2010, 12:51am :