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Posts Tagged ‘nytimes.com

Photo: wallyg on Flickr

We tweeted last week about our unhappiness with the much-anticipated announcement from the New York Times that, beginning March 28, they will charge a subscription fee for digital content.

With all due respect to the agency Twitter team, I am glad to see that the “paywall” is finally going up.

As much as we marketers love the word “free”, it doesn’t require too much calculus to realize that no business can give away its product on a consistent basis and continue as a going concern.

Yes, the free website (NYTimes.com) is “the most visited newspaper site in the world” which has helped the paper see it’s online advertising revenue go “from being a drop in the bucket to more than a quarter of The New York Times Company’s overall advertising revenue,” according to an article about the paywall decision by Jeremy Peters.

But, just as the web changed news consumption by creating a user expectation that content should be free — and ad supported — the next generation of technology is changing the game, yet again.

Witness the birth of  The Daily, which MarketWatch.com founder Larry Kramer describes in a recent blog post as “the first news source from a mainstream media company (News Corp) designed purely for the iPad,” which, prior to launch, “was going to change the game.”

While The Daily’s detractors may suggest that it hasn’t changed the game, it certainly shakes things up a bit: it makes liberal use of video, both in stories and in ads, and instead of just ordinary photos, there are plenty of 360-degree panoramic shots that you can swipe around. Personally, I think it’s a bit light in the content department, but it does demonstrate that there is tremendous potential for publishers to create a new way to experience news.

Which is why I think we should all expect to pay for the sort of curated content the Times produces.  From here on out, it’s not jut the content quality that matters, but also how it’s delivered.

As Patricio Robles writes at eConsultancy:

“Newspapers are hurting, and the Times is no exception. The business models of the past aren’t the business models of the future. While it’s still unclear which business models will win out, it seems likely that they’ll have to include some form of paid content.

By launching a paid offering, the New York Times is at the very least trying to step into the future instead of burying its head in the sand and believing that the status quo is sustainable. This is a very important step for the newspaper.”

For about 40% of the cost of a home delivery subscription, the price/value equation for me more than works. Although there is no public disclosure of the number of digital subscriptions the Times hopes to generate, “company executives have said privately that the goal for the first year is 300,000.”

As a die-hard devotee of the newspaper of record, who’d like to see its fine journalistic tradition continue in ANY platform, I certainly hope they succeed.



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  • Chris Cushing: Nice list. Although the most annoying for me is the new corporate catch phrase "bandwidth." Ooh, Makes me shrug everytime I hear it in a meeting.
  • Maile: Sweet write, great site layout, continue the great work
  • Nate: I have DISH Network and a Sling adapter connected to my receiver and I was surprised to see how many devices that this work on with DISH. I know Comca