Why the NYT’s Premium Content Strategy Signifies Nothing
The New York Times announced earlier this week that it will be putting its columnists and some other content behind a paywall. According to the release the new online offering called TimesSelect, will provide “exclusive access to Op-Ed and news columnists on NYTimes.com, easy and in-depth access to The Times’s online archives, early access to select articles on the site, as well as other exciting features.” The price is $49.95/year.
There’s already been much commentary on this announcement; mostly negative. We’re firmly in the camp that this will NOT work – but we understand why the NYT is trying.
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But here’s the thing: even if this premium model does work, we don’t think it signifies much of a trend. And it certainly doesn’t mean that other newspaper publishers can charge for their online content. Why? Because other newspaper publishers AREN’T the NYT. We feel the same way about the Wall Street Journal’s premium offering, which has always flickered like a beacon of hope for premium content advocates. Yes, the model has worked for the WSJ, but it clearly hasn’t worked for just about every other publisher. The WSJ and, if it works, the NYT, will be exceptions to the rule that content on the Web must be largely ad-supported.
Oh yeah, and $49.95?? We’d recommend cutting that in half.
Read: The New York Times Announces TimesSelect – New Online Offering to Launch in September