Is The NY Times Looking To CwF + RtB?
from the sure-looks-that-way dept
One of my big complaints with all the stories from newspaper people about how they’re suddenly going to put up paywalls and charge, was that they never actually talked about adding more value. They seemed to just assume people would pay, when the truth is that they’ve never really paid for the content. But, of course, if you can really connect with people, and give them a reason to buy, then that’s something different. But “the news” alone is not a reason to buy, because it’s not scarce. It’s quite abundant, and if someone charges, then people will just go elsewhere. But there are plenty of scarcities that you can charge for if you’re smart about it — and it looks like the NY Times may actually be taking a more intelligent approach to its own business model.
Last week, as you hopefully know, we kicked off our latest business model experiment, by launching our CwF + RtB options, based on the formula that we’ve seen many musicians use successfully: Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = Business Model. So it’s fascinating to see some of what the NY Times is exploring for its own premium offers. While these are still apparently works in progress, some market research shows that the NYT is considering two separate added value tiers. These aren’t about locking up the content, but providing additional (scarce!) value that people may find worth paying for.
For example, in the proposed silver level ($50/year) people would get early access to some stories (a la our Techdirt Crystal Ball), as well as some additional features on the site, a choice of a tote bag, baseball cap or some other products, and early access for tickets to NYT’s events. Not bad. The proposed gold level ($150/year) also gives the person access to exclusive events, direct access to some of the reporters/writers/staff at the NY Times (even a newsroom tour) and some other features. This is still preliminary, but it seems like the NY Times is definitely thinking in the right direction. It’s not about locking up the content that’s already there. It’s about providing a real reason to buy something additional that’s scarce and valuable. And, certainly, given the NY Times’ reputation, it has connected with many, many people. So, now let’s see what happens when it gives them real reasons to buy. Who knows what model will eventually be launched or how successful it really is, but it’s interesting to see the NY Times apparently stealing our idea (that’s a joke, people). In all honesty, it’s great to finally see a newspaper looking at adding value, not trying to take it away.