NYTimes' Boss Pretends That A Paywall Creates A Stronger Emotional Bond

from the you-got-that-backwards dept

We're still surprised that the folks at the NY Times think that a paywall is a smart idea -- especially since they already tried the idea and it failed pretty miserably. But, lately, it seems like they're completely making stuff up to make themselves believe it's a good idea. At the company's annual meeting, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. tried to convince everyone (including himself, we're guessing) that by putting up a paywall, you increase the emotional connection readers have with the site -- to which Jeff Jarvis noted, that "emotional connection" is probably anger.
At the core of our thinking is the necessity of increasing engagement. This is about having our users generally spend more of their valuable time with us, either on our site or on other sites that are integrating our content. It is about enhancing the emotional connection that our users have with us.

We start off with the premise that the key to increasing engagement is about compelling storytelling. This transcends technology --- it is not about the printing press, or the server, or the cave drawing, for that matter. It is about an essential human connection, and we are working hard to explore this notion and enhance our relationship with our audiences worldwide.
The real issue is that Sulzberger seems to have the relationship backwards. Charging doesn't create an emotional relationship. What we've been pointing out over and over again is that you have to build the relationship first, and then on top of that you can charge for providing scarce value. The obvious response, of course, is that many people already do have an emotional connection with the NY Times, but you don't increase that by charging for the content that helped build that connection. That weakens the connection. The connection is what makes people willing to buy. Buying doesn't build a stronger connection by itself.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    So, people in the news industry only have emotional connections with people who pay them money?

    That certainly explains things.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    'you don't increase that by charging for the content that helped build that connection. That weakens the connection. ' - do you have empirical proof of this, or is this just your personal opinion? you seem to be stating it as a fact where no fact has been determined.

     

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  3.  
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    Simon, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 8:58am

    Pay twice

    So he admits that people's time is valuable - but he wants them to pay him to take that value?

    Weird.

     

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  4.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Degree anyone?

    There are serious college degrees to be earned from a psyche perspective studying what is going on in the News, record, and video industries.

     

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  5.  
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    scarr (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:02am

    This is how people know hookers really love them.

     

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  6.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    Not to mention your city, state, and federal governments....

     

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  7.  
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    Reader, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Something about Techdirt

    Been reading Techdirt regularly for about 2 months now. Something I don't quite understand is how often you are drilling some particular content posts over and over, with little new information?

    Isn't this story self explanatory? If it fails, it fails, if not, then it doesn't. Why does techdirt have this fascination with business methods that others are doing and possibly failing at? Paywalls in particular.

    Obviously there are limited applications to paywalls, but you don't seem to let it play out, you continue to harp on them, like some sort of obsession. Is this something Mike really wants to do, but can't? Is it something he had an idea of once long ago, but someone stole it, and he secretly loves each failure?

    Quite the strange obsession. Do enjoy the majority of your articles, however. Quite refreshing from reading Ars Technica's Apple Corporate PR arm.

     

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  8.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Re:

    Actually, I think I agree with you. Cognitive dissonance happens when a behaviour and a belief don't match. Since you can't change the behaviour, you change your belief.

    If people were to pay for the NYT, their belief that the site was worth it would tend to increase. Why else did I pay for something I could get free elsewhere? they would ask themselves.

     

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  9.  
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    Freedom, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:20am

    Empirical Proof - Paying for Sex???

    >> 'you don't increase that by charging for the content that helped build that connection. That weakens the connection. ' - do you have empirical proof of this

    I may not have a scientific study, but I throw this out there. When it comes to sex, paying for it definitely removes the emotion. Ironically, paying lots for it, probably re-introduces it.

    The real issue is the content. Something commonly available probably does little or nothing to increase the emotional connection by paying for it. Something rare on the other hand just might.

    For instance, isn't the WSJ a pay site? The information there though is much more focused, detailed, researched, and so on. Kind of like a high-end escort. In both cases, probably a bit more of an emotional connection going on.

    Unless the NYT can find something that makes it unique or more than just a common street walker. I think the pay wall will ultimately fail.

    What the NYT needs to do is not just take a hot topic and run some silly BS piece off of it and call it reporting, but actually do hard reporting. Research and find stories that are just developing. Try to be ahead of the next chess move instead of commenting on what has already passed. Give real in-depth and un-biased coverage on what the stories mean and reflect on similar events in history. For that, I'd pay. For barfing back up newswire stories and adding in their own special left-wing comments. Well, good luck. I can get that on anywhere.

    P.S. I was actually watching the news last night and they had someone against the immigration bill in AZ and someone that actually helped draft it. The news person actually told the guy that drafted it to "shut up" and lets not get caught up in the "boring details" of the actual bill. It was so blatant. News doesn't care about getting the truth, they care about entertainment. In fact, if the truth makes a story die - they seem to go out of their way to make sure that isn't reported.

    As someone in IT, my entire life is all about the details. That is how we solve problems and get to the bottom of EVERYTHING. I can't describe how offended I was by this. Obviously, I've just been naive and in denial, but it still was one of the most eye opening experiences I've ever had.

    If this is the type of journalism that you are going to put up behind a pay wall - good luck. Why would I pay for it?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    Re: Something about Techdirt

    I can't tell if you're trolling or serious. You speak nicely but the content is trollish. This whole site is about business models and economics.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re:

    there just isn't any pure study out there that shows specifically the relationship between 'connection' and something being free or pay. i think the masnick is making a bold statement that is supported by fact, just his wishful thinking.

     

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  12.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:42am

    Well, duh. Of course people are going to have a more emotional connection to something that costs them money! That doesn't make people want to pay in the first place, though.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Re:

    Yes, news people are not different than hookers.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Re: Empirical Proof - Paying for Sex???

    when you start making love to a newspaper, call me. until then, your points are cute but sort of meaningless.

     

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  15.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    A membership community

    People do pay to belong to certain clubs. And Techdirt has already spoken up in support of musicians who sell memberships/subscriptions with addition perks for fans.

    So presumably the NYTimes can find similar exclusive deals.

     

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  16.  
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    Josef, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Re: Personal opinion?

    I don't know if it's a personal opinion or not, but it stands to reason that a larger portion of the reading audience would react negatively to being suddenly charged from something they were getting for free.

    I will concede that such a negative reaction would only occur when there is no free alternative available. Does the NYT have competitors that offer a free service? :)

     

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  17.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    Re: A membership community

    Also, not long ago Techdirt highlighted a band that was packaging its music with a magazine. So if the NYTimes packaged its magazine with a CD, wouldn't it amount to the same thing?

     

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  18.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "i think the masnick is making a bold statement that is supported by fact,"

    Ah. Good. You agree that it IS a factual statement.

     

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  19.  
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    Freedom, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Empirical Proof - Paying for Sex???

    >> when you start making love to a newspaper, call me

    Okay, I just "finished" with the newspaper. I definitely wouldn't call it love though. Can I still call you? :)!!!!

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    Re: Something about Techdirt

    I think the point is to indicate that despite many businesses coming to the same conclusion, it is highly unlikely to work. It's difficult to offer the same product at a higher price.

    It's unfortunate for the content industries though. While other industries were able to keep prices high despite the efficiencies created by internet technology, the content industries now have to add something else to what they are selling to keep growing.

    It's tough to not be able to sit back.

     

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  21.  
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    Christopher (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    One question.

    How are they measuring emotional quantity or quality?

    -C

     

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  22.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re: A membership community

    Presumably the NY Times has a desirable readership. If it were possible for them to set up a members-only club in cities around the country, it could work the same way any private club is marketed.

    If there were a chance to stay at a NY Times club in NY (like is offered by certain alumni clubs), there is probably a market for it.

    The reason some people might join a NYTimes club over a different kind of club would be in expectation of meeting like-minded readers and also perhaps to interact with reporters. For that matter, there could be a NYTimes cruise where reporters offer lectures to people who sign on.

    Some of these ideas may work better than others, but the NYTimes is not off-base in assuming that some of its readers would pay extra for certain perks. Like I said, Techdirt already advocates the concept for musicians, so why not for newspapers?

    Come to think about it, any of the techniques to promote alumni clubs (cruises, travel groups, clubs around the country, special events) might work for the NY Times. The reason newspapers didn't do it in the past is that they were in the reporting and ad-selling businesses.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    isnt. sorry, typo. the bold statement is not supported by fact. Carry on.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:50am

    Re: A membership community

    careful! the masnick will show up and claim your are wildly misinformed and taking his words out of context. he will explain how you dont understand business or economoics, and how you are misunderstanding the message. usually he will say he didnt say it just linked to an article that said it.

     

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  25.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: A membership community

    "Also, not long ago Techdirt highlighted a band that was packaging its music with a magazine. So if the NYTimes packaged its magazine with a CD, wouldn't it amount to the same thing?"

    CD's would cost to much to bulk produce for each edition. But Wow wouldnt that be a reason to buy. In the online versions. Include links to preview the music reviewed in music reviews with a buy it now button . In book reviews the first few chapters with a buy it now button. Food reviews ... sales links, restaraunts reviews ... reservation links, vacation reviews ... links to arrange the trip, etc ...

    Thats how I would monetize the free edition not one behind a paywall.

     

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  26.  
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    kirillian (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Something about Techdirt

    I think you mean, it's tough to get back up when they've been sitting back for so long...

     

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  27.  
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    Reader A, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Something about Techdirt

    Not trolling. I long stopped caring about what other people truly think of my comments.
    Even Economic blogs don't talk about econ 101 type stuff, over and over and over.

     

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  28.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Pure joy

    People get so excited that when they open their cell phone bill they just up and rave to everyone how great their service provider is. /fantasy

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You capitalized the "c" in your last sentence. Can that be considered a typo?

     

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  30.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re:

    Huh? Your point only makes sense if you presuppose that people will pay. This conversation is around how people will feel about paying or what will compel them to pay.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    I think that paying for something (as opposed to getting it for free) does increase the expectation of value that people have. Poor quality is widely tolerated in that which is free, but much less in that which is paid for.

    This in itself is not an emotional connection, thought it can lead to one. I think Sulzberger is unable to tell them apart.

     

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  32.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    Re: A membership community

    People do pay to belong to certain clubs. And Techdirt has already spoken up in support of musicians who sell memberships/subscriptions with addition perks for fans.

    So presumably the NYTimes can find similar exclusive deals.


    Indeed. In fact, we've suggested they do exactly that: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090726/0321445656.shtml

    But this is different. You can get people to pay up if you've made an emotional connection. He's arguing it works the other way. That *when* they pay up, that CREATES an emotional connection.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Nothing is stronger than my emotional connection with my wallet... =^.^=

     

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  34.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: A membership community

    The reason some people might join a NYTimes club over a different kind of club would be in expectation of meeting like-minded readers and also perhaps to interact with reporters. For that matter, there could be a NYTimes cruise where reporters offer lectures to people who sign on.


    Yup. As mentioned in my last comment, we've suggested exactly that.

    But that's not what the NY Times is proposing. They're just doing a straight paywall. When they announced it, they admitted they tossed out these types of ideas.

     

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  35.  
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    Wesha (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Something about Techdirt

    Well, do they have a choice? The people in charge are STILL not getting it, so maybe endless repetition will hammer some common sense into their bone heads?

     

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  36.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    What Sulzberger said

    "At the core of our thinking is the necessity of increasing engagement. This is about having our users generally spend more of their valuable time with us, either on our site or on other sites that are integrating our content. It is about enhancing the emotional connection that our users have with us.

    We start off with the premise that the key to increasing engagement is about compelling storytelling. This transcends technology --- it is not about the printing press, or the server, or the cave drawing, for that matter. It is about an essential human connection, and we are working hard to explore this notion and enhance our relationship with our audiences worldwide.

    To accomplish all this, we continue to take the necessary steps to become a more technology-centered organization, developing new products that speak to the desire for community, personalization and greater access to quality information."

    _____

    My take on this is that they want to build a better product to strengthen engagement and emotional bonds. They will charge more for this better product. So I don't see them saying they will charge more for the same product that is currently free.

    The NYTimes is the only publication where I believe it has worked its way into the ritual of people's lives. I know many people whose Sunday ritual is to read the Times over coffee. Some of them do the crossword puzzle. I can't think of any other publication where people routinely build a day around it.

    So the Times does have something to work with. There are Times readers who read it daily or at least on Sundays, who make sure their weddings are in there, who discuss the columnists, and so on. So there is a community. If the Times can find ways of strengthening the bonds within this community and delivering even more value, yes, they can charge for it.

    Certainly not everyone is a Times reader and nothing the Times can offer them will change that. But among their core readers, there are a number of perks they can offer.

     

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  37.  
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    Bradley Stewart, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Oh Brother!

    That's like saying paying higher taxes will give me a stronger emotional bond with my government. What do these people do through darts at a dictionary and string the words together in the order that they were hit. The Times should have brought this idea out on April first.

     

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  38.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: A membership community

    I checked the article that you linked to, but didn't see that from comment from Sulzberger.

    Could you pull the quote where he says specifically that paying for content is how they will create the emotional connection?

     

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  39.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Something about Techdirt

    Even Economic blogs don't talk about econ 101 type stuff, over and over and over.


    I think the point Techdirt is trying to get across is that when it comes to using the Internet as a medium for business, people should stop ignoring what they learned in Econ 101.

    There is no big mystery to the information age, other than all of the clamor from traditional industries to gain artificial control over "goods" (in the archaic sense) by attempting to inhibit the natural flow of information. To attempt to make scarcities where none exist, in this case.

    Inhibiting the flow of information runs counter to the ideal purpose of a public information network. In the not too distant future, the concept of paywalls and copyright enforcement may very well lead to mechanisms being put in place which could directly be used to censor and prohibit content based on political motives.

    For me, that last point is why I am concerned, and interested, in all of these alleged business moguls talking like they never graduated high school.

     

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  40.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: A membership community

    I had already posted this before I saw Mike's response. This is what I saw in the article that Mike linked to.
    ______

    "At the core of our thinking is the necessity of increasing engagement. This is about having our users generally spend more of their valuable time with us, either on our site or on other sites that are integrating our content. It is about enhancing the emotional connection that our users have with us.

    We start off with the premise that the key to increasing engagement is about compelling storytelling. This transcends technology --- it is not about the printing press, or the server, or the cave drawing, for that matter. It is about an essential human connection, and we are working hard to explore this notion and enhance our relationship with our audiences worldwide.

    To accomplish all this, we continue to take the necessary steps to become a more technology-centered organization, developing new products that speak to the desire for community, personalization and greater access to quality information."

    _____

    My take on this is that they want to build a better product to strengthen engagement and emotional bonds. They will charge more for this better product. So I don't see them saying they will charge more for the same product that is currently free.

     

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  41.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 2:15pm

    Re: What Sulzberger said

    "I can't think of any other publication where people routinely build a day around it."

    Really?? How about the LA Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, or whatever the main newspaper is in your particular city? The problem the NYT and other newspapers have is that fewer and fewer people are building their day, or their bird cage's floors, with a newspaper.

    You keep arguing that the NYT is going to deliver value that people will pay for, despite the NYT never saying that's the case. If you have a quote from them that demonstrates this claim please link to it. The quote you've put up (twice now) says that they'll be using technology to develop new products. Not that they'll be delivering anything of value worth paying for.

    More likely the technology they'll employ, and the products they develop, will be used to build a "better" paywall.

     

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  42.  
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    FUTURE ACTA ENFORCER, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You'll all pay, soon enough.

     

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  43.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: What Sulzberger said

    Really?? How about the LA Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, or whatever the main newspaper is in your particular city?

    Not the same thing. I know people in Houston and Boulder who devote their Sundays to the NY Times. It's treated as a national newspaper, not a local one. You can get home delivery on your doorstep pretty much anywhere in the country. Most local newspapers don't distribute outside their home areas.

    My guess is that you and your friends haven't subscribed to the NY Times print edition, but I have and so have most of my peer group. We're that core group the NY Times is pitching to.

     

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  44.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: What Sulzberger said

    The NY Times isn't likely to capture a lot of new readers. I think they have come to accept that. So now they appear to be looking for ways to make the newspaper more valuable to people have been willing, over the years, to spend $250 a year on it. I used to be a print subscriber and then stopped when I could read it online.

    Are there ways for the NY Times to start getting money from me again? Yes. Not only do I enjoy the publication, I enjoy the community it represents. So if there are ways for the NY Times to provide certain benefits based on that community, I will be paying attention. I think that's exactly what Sulzberger was talking about.

    If, on the other hand, you see the NY Times as just another local paper, then no, you're not their core market.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    maybE.

     

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  46.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: A membership community

    Out of curiosity, I went and did some more research.

    Here's the full text of the stockholder meeting.

    The New York Times Company 2010 Annual Meeting of Stockholders

    I also found this from January which does say they don't want a membership model like NPR:

    New York Times to Charge Nonsubscribers For Unlimited Use of Its Site - NYTimes.com: "Most readers who go to the Times site, as with other news sites, are incidental visitors, arriving no more than once in a while through searches and links, and many of them would be unaffected by the new system. A much smaller number of committed readers account for the bulk of the site visits and page views, and the essential question is how many of them will pay.

    The Times Company looked at several approaches, including a straightforward pay wall similar to The Journal's, which makes some articles available to any visitor, and others accessible only to paying readers. It also rejected the ideas of varying the price depending on how much a consumer uses the site, and a 'membership' format similar to the one used in public broadcasting."

    ______

    But I think the Times has a de facto membership model as long as it offers subscriptions. So the trick is to maximize the "community" feel for those people who are or will subscribe. Since the Times is counting on its subscribers to remain loyal, I'm speculating that the premium product will have membership features built in, whether or not the Times bills them as that.

    I mean, look at Foursquare. Just showing up at your local coffee shop enough times gives you a badge, so we're turning lots of stuff into memberships of a sort.

    I'm one of those swing Times readers. I'm currently not subscribing, but have in the past. I really like the NY Times, but also have limited amounts of money to spend on media. I also used to be WSJ subscriber and a USA Today subscriber plus subscribed to a ton of news, professional, and cultural magazines. I've found ways to get a lot of information without subscribing, but since I still like to have access to information, I'll never rule out the idea of paying for information. It just really depends on what is offered.

    As for an emotional bond to the Times, yes it's there for me and for most of my friends/family/peers. It's a cultural reference point that not everyone has. It's more of a lifestyle for us than a newspaper as such. Looking for an example for younger generations, Apple comes the closest. It's a defining product more than it is a utilitarian product.

     

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  47.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: What Sulzberger said

    "My guess is that you and your friends haven't subscribed to the NY Times print edition, but I have and so have most of my peer group."

    You and your peer group may also still use buggy whips for your horses for all I and my car driving peer group know. It doesn't change the fact that newspapers are going the way of the dodo, and trying to compete by chargeing for something that the competition isn't, is going to go over like a lead zeppelin.

    Oh, FYI you can get the LA Times and many other newspapers in areas other than their local territory. The NYT doesn't have a monopoly on that. Not that it matters in the slightest to what I was saying about other newspapers being part of people's daily, or weekly, ritual. It doesn't matter what your newspaper of choice is, the simple fact is that fewer and fewer people have that ritual thanks to the internet. That's all I'm sayin'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What Sulzberger said

    It doesn't change the fact that newspapers are going the way of the dodo, and trying to compete by chargeing for something that the competition isn't, is going to go over like a lead zeppelin.

    That's why they aren't going after your business. I've already said that the people who aren't interested won't pay. The NY Times is assuming it will hang on to its current subscribers. Will the paper pick up new ones? Probably not.

    It's kind of irrelevant if people who don't want to subscribe to newspapers don't pay, because they already don't pay.

    In my comments I was just explaining why there still are NY Times subscribers. I've been one and it's possible I could become one again.

    It's kind of like saying that it's dumb to offer a $200 limited edition music package. Would most people buy it? No. Is it worth offering to the small group who will? Maybe.

    It's also kind of like saying that a TV show that is pitched to a niche audience is stupid because it isn't pitched to the masses. The NY Times has its niche.

    And speaking of niche audiences, why should anyone try to get a fan to pay $5000 to $10,000 to become a band sponsor? Most of us won't. But maybe a few passionate ones will.

    Is subscribing to the NYTimes a generational thing? Absolutely. And is that okay with its subscribers? Why, yes, I think it is.

    If you were a Times subscriber and then said that you aren't going to pay, then it might matter to the Times. But if you are saying no newspaper is worth paying for, then you're not their potential customer anyway.

    Although I think Techdirt put its own spin on the idea that the Times thinks it will create value by charging more, that's actually what luxury goods and high-priced clubs are all about. They only want people willing to pay. It makes it exclusive. If you are so concerned about money, then maybe you don't have enough of it.

    Is the NY Times subscriber group exclusive? Yes, in a way it is. It's made up of people who like the Times enough to subscribe.

    You telling me that newspapers are dying is certainly not news. And most of them are going to disappear even if they are totally free on the Internet. News itself isn't worth much of anything. If you don't subscribe to newspapers, it's not really a big deal to anyone. The fate of the newspaper industry changed considerably after the Internet, and especially after Craigslist. So what happens now really is kind of irrelevant to most people. Newspapers will fold, and we'll see a lot more news being written by people working for free, writing because they want to.

    Mocking the Times for putting up a paywall seems to be a lot to do about nothing. So what if they do or if they don't? What difference does it make to all the people who don't subscribe? And what difference does it make to those do subscribe?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 6:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What Sulzberger said

    Perhaps a better way to explain why loyal NYTimes readers don't think of it in the same way they do other newspapers is to point to Howard Stern.

    There were enough loyal listeners to subscribe to Sirius to keep listening to him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 1st, 2010 @ 1:39am

    This article captures it

    I was just reading a review in the NY Times of the show "Sondheim on Sondheim."

    I'm a Sondheim fan and the whole article represents the NY Times to me. It ties in music, a Manhattan world view, a comparison of life changing over the decades (e.g., feminism, psychoanalysis). I can relate to it all. Sure I've read complex music criticism in blogs, but this captures a certain world view. It's like how John Cheever stories represented an era at the New Yorker, and how Norman Mailer represented a time at Esquire. Is it going to be relevant to everyone? No. But it is going to resonate with the core NY Times reader.

    Music - The Unmistakable Sensibility of Sondheim - NYTimes.com: "For all his songs’ universality, the Sondheim philosophy is specific and exclusive. Directed toward his own class — an urbane, well-educated, culturally cosmopolitan gentry — his lyrics define what might be called the Manhattan sensibility: humanist, proudly intellectual, psychologically sophisticated, hyper-articulate, liberal, Jewish and disenchanted."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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