January 18, 2010

NY Times Apparently Planning To Commit Suicide Online With Paywall

I can't improve on that headline.

A significant number of people refuse to even register for news and opinion that they kind find elsewhere online with no strings attached. News is close to being public domain these days with exclusives becoming widely disseminated blog fodder within minutes, which means charging for the reporting of the Times is a non-starter, as they will simply be bypassed for free content and commentary.

Does the Times honestly think that their stable of Op-ed writers is sufficiently loved and admired enough for people to fork over their hard-earned dollars for them in enough numbers to offset the decrease in advertising eyeballs they will get when non-subscribers go elsewhere for equally competent writing?

I'm sure the Times likes to think that they are special and the cream of the crop, but the simple fact of the matter is that there is no shortage of pundits that write just as well, and many have far more interesting perspectives than the often formulaic missives being offered up by the Old Grey Lady.

The Times apparently thinks of itself as a super-premium product. One can only wonder how long it will be before they realize they are not nearly as special as they think.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 18, 2010 12:15 PM

I've heard rumors its linked to the apple tablet announcement next week? That would make sense to me, if they were starting some kind of subscription model that way...

people are already paying for 99c to several dollars to read information on iphones that's already available for free, why not charge more (suckers!) put it on a bigger screen?

Posted by: John at January 18, 2010 12:33 PM

How long? Never. Arrogance and narcissism, particularly when combined with a politics that resembles fundamentalist religious extremism, can never admit error, let alone failure. The NYT will slip beneath the waves still screaming in futile rage at the ignorant little people who aren't smart enough to understand their own interests, as expressed by their betters at the Times.

Posted by: mikemcdaniel at January 18, 2010 06:06 PM

When a link sends me to the NYT, I generally don't read the article. I see no point to reading anything in the NYT as what they say leaves me knowing less, not more.

Paper of record my ass.

Posted by: Jack at January 18, 2010 07:28 PM

Last time around, with Times Select, they shot themselves in the foot... by offering the service gratis to their largest audience - the college/university crowd. Once TS became available at no cost to academia, subscriptions began dropping.

Back in '88 I paid $9/hour to read NYT online, text-only, as it was a better bargain than messing with the dead-tree version - and had more content as well. The good part about Times Select was access to the archives... the Times goes back to the 1860s - it is really useful for a lot of research, but only if fees are reasonable. Right now the paywall for online archival access is prohibitively expensive.

Good content comes at some price. The free Internet model is ending, not that it ever was actually no-cost... somewhere, someone is paying. IMHO the big mistake for NYT, Washington Post, others was to be no-cost from the start - a paid model such as WSJ or ConsumerReports or WeatherTAP has always made more sense.

That said, the last NYT columnist I regularly read was Safire. The others range from ludicrous to idiotic (mostly the latter).

(Note: this blog's comment screening doesn't like a word starting with fr and ending with ee... thus several no-costs above)

Posted by: wpw at January 18, 2010 07:58 PM

Well, the Grey Lady will learn before the public ed kids learn (that they really aren't special), if that is any help. The kids will learn too, in time, when they eventually have to, ugh, work for a living and they find out their boss doesn't think they are special nor care if they are, he simply wants more for his money than their paychecks show. It's going to hurt, well them. I enjoy reality moments myself (even my own). Ha!

Ouch... that had to hurt...

Posted by: Doom at January 18, 2010 08:08 PM

Two words: Times Select.

Worked really great last time around. Should work equally great this time. What's that saying about the definition of insanity?

Posted by: Mark L at January 19, 2010 08:37 AM

I'm buying NYT put options today. They're suicidal.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at January 19, 2010 09:27 AM

Oh .. please put Krugman behind a wall

Posted by: Neo at January 19, 2010 12:55 PM

Neo wrote, "Oh .. please put Krugman behind a wall."

I believe that's the whole point. The one lesson they learned from "Times Select" was that non-subscribers would not pay to read their columnists online.

The lesson they've learned since is that they're better off when non-subscribers can't read their columnists. Those peeks into elitist liberal group-think are inspiring too much incredulous laughter in the hoi polloi.

Posted by: Looking Glass at January 19, 2010 07:27 PM

The phrase "Something is only worth what someone else wants to pay for it" comes to mind here. I guess we will find out what the New York Times is worth by how much people will pay for it.

The good news is that it is like other products. If it is more than someone wants to pay for it, then they will look around for a similar product at a lower price. They will start looking at other Web news and might stumble on some of the conservative sites. When they start reading what is really going on in our government they might realize they have been reading the wrong stuff.

Posted by: Smorgasbord at January 20, 2010 12:51 AM

It is important to note that anything a liberal creates fails. Air America is broke and gone.
New York Times going down in liberal/communist flames. Too many to list yet they are all gone, except of course we still have How long can they hang on? When you are built on lies, deception, etc. it is always a matter of time.

Posted by: Liberals be gone!! at January 20, 2010 10:27 AM

Now if the NYT was willing to PAY me to read their product,I might consider using some of my time to look over what they're offering..but lay out my hard won dollars....??...I don't think so.

Posted by: firefirefire at January 21, 2010 07:28 AM