NY Times Apparently Planning To Commit Suicide Online With Paywall
from the so-long,-farewell dept
There have been rumors for a while that, despite the NY Times massive failure with its last attempt at a paywall — which drove away users in bunches, pissed off NY Times writers and did little to help the bottom line — the NY Times might consider going back down that cursed road. And now reports are leaking out that the braintrust at the NYT has made a decision and it’s to kill off whatever value the NY Times’ online presence may have had by putting up a paywall designed to piss off users and take itself out of the online conversation.
Apparently, it considered three options for getting users to pay more for online content — and then chose the worst of the three. Among the rejected ideas were the one that we thought sounded quite promising of creating a CwF+RtB-style membership club, that would give people all sorts of benefits for paying, without taking away the free content. The newspaper apparently also rejected a WSJ-style paywall that is pretty porous, with lots of content for free, and easy ways in if necessary, but some stuff gets blocked out. I don’t think that’s a very good solution long-term, but it surely beats the solution that the NY Times appears to have gone with: a Financial Times-style “metered” system, whereby you can visit a few times per month and are then locked out. I try not to link to the Financial Times because of this particular system. It means when I link to them a large number of my readers can’t read the story, and that is no good for anyone. Why am I going to send people to a story they can’t read? Putting up such a system takes the NY Times out of the conversation online and makes sure that people won’t link to them, won’t share the stories and won’t discuss them.
Will some people sign up and pay? Yes, absolutely. In fact, I’m sure that there will be stories early on about just how many people subscribed. But as we saw with TimesSelect, that initial number plateaued quickly, and getting the next generation of readers to sign up? Yeah… good luck. Putting this system in place is effectively the NY Times saying that it only plans to be the paper of record for an older generation, and plans to give up the next generation.