Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
arthur sulberger jr., paywall

ny times

NY Times In Denial: Only Teens & The Unemployed Will Game The Paywall

from the emperor-has-no-clothes dept

It's really quite incredible how deeply in denial folks in the upper management at the NY Times appear to be about the paywall. In the last few days I've received some communications from some NYT staffers who seem to agree that the paywall itself is ridiculous, and is a backwards looking policy. As many have noted, the whole thing seems like a case of the Emperor's New Clothes anyway, since it's incredibly easy to avoid the paywall, either with some simple javascript or by just visiting from elsewhere. And yet, NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. appears to be in complete denial about all of this, claiming that only teenagers and the unemployed will bother to game the system.
"Can people go around the system?" Sulzberger, the Timesís publisher, asked at a roundtable discussion hosted by the Paley Center for Media this morning. "The answer is yes, just as if you run down Sixth Avenue right now and you pass a newsstand and you grab a newspaper and keep running, you can read the Times for free."

"Is it going to be done by the kind of people who value the quality of the New York Times reporting and opinion and analysis? No," he continued. "I don't think so. It'll be mostly high-school kids and people who are out of work."
This appears to be someone deeply in denial. First of all, even if it is just done by high schoolers, those high schoolers will grow up. And never subscribe. But, more importantly, he's just wrong. Yes, some people will pay, but many, many, many people who are both adults and employed, will simply avoid the paywall completely.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2011 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: #10

    Obviously, he's harping on their dependence on a stupid and doomed solution and their denial of reality.

    If anybody he liked were trying this, it wouldn't be a "stupid and doomed solution," it would be a "worthwhile experiment."

    They have not paywalled off the whole content. They let you see some. They let you share. They will continue to get ad revenue from all of these activities. Only heavy users - e.g., the ones who might value the content the most - will probably ever encounter the "paywall," except rarely.

    If the NYT were giving away a movie and selling a DVD with extra content on it, that would be praised. They're giving away 20 articles and all the sharing you can do, and charging for the extra content. But they get shit on for it. Why? Because they're the NYT and not some struggling musician who rails against the evils of copyright.

    The advice given here is constantly to ignore people who are never going to pay you, and try to get money from the ones who will. That's what they're doing. Oh, sure, maybe they're not doing it whole-hog, giving away everything and selling lunch dates or T-shirts or articles written just for you or whatever, but they've come halfway. And yet they've been shit on no less than four times in the past two days.

    This is completely off the rails hatred and self-aggrandizement.

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