New York Times confirmed today that beginning in early 2011 the company will adopt a paid model for its Web site, NYTimes.com. The move comes at a time when much of the newspaper industry is searching for a way to stop the bleeding brought on by the Internet and the accompanying smaller revenue streams that online advertising produces.The
Many fear that putting content behind a paywall will just drive readers to other sources, but perhaps the Times' approach will help to combat that issue.
The company will adopt a different approach from the most famous example of a paywall, the Wall Street Journal, which offers just a paragraph or two for free while hiding the rest of the content for subscribers only. The Times will use what it is calling a "metered model", which will allow users to gain free access to a yet undetermined number of articles per month before a subscription is required.
The announcement is light on details of the actual plan, such as the number of free articles, how much the subscription will cost or precisely how it will work, but one thing is for sure - New York Times readers are going to have to pay to play. The company's press release does tell us, however, that subscribers to the print edition will continue have access to the online edition.
Notably, the Times' model intends to "provide the necessary flexibility to keep an appropriate ratio between free and paid content and stay connected to a search-driven Web," according to the release. Acknowledging the nature of the Web, while trying to retain a profit, and hopefully keep paying hard-working journalists, sounds like a good method to us.
The move is something we've all seen coming, as more and more newspapers have shut down in recent years. By mid-2009, more than 100 newspapers had been shuttered with a number stopping the presses and going online-only in an attempt to remain in production.
As with most things of this nature, only time will tell if this new model will work. What do you think?
To read more ReadWriteWeb coverage of newspapers' struggle in the 21st century, check out our Newspapers and Journalism archive.
Disclosure: ReadWriteWeb is a syndication partner of the New York Times.