TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: New York Times Mulls Charging Web Readers

Re: New York Times Mulls Charging Web Readers
Tue, 11 Jan 2005 08:40:36 -0500

Lisa Minter wrote:

> NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times Co. is considering
> subscription fees to the online version of its flagship newspaper,
> which now is available for free, but it has no immediate plans to do
> so, the company said on Friday.

> One of the paper's biggest rivals, Dow Jones & Co. Inc.'s Wall Street
> Journal, charges for its online edition. A New York Times spokeswoman
> said the company is reviewing whether it should make any business
> changes to the online version but that no shifts were imminent.

> "We are reviewing the site to see whether or not there would be any
> areas where we should change the business model," said the
> spokeswoman, Catherine Mathis, adding: "This is not new. We've been
> discussing this for some time."

> According to the upcoming issue of BusinessWeek magazine, whose cover
> story focuses on The New York Times Co., an internal debate has been
> raging at the newspaper over whether its online edition, which had
> about 18.5 million unique monthly visitors as of November, should
> adopt a subscription fee.

> N.Y. Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. was quoted in the article
> as saying: "It gets to the issue of how comfortable are we training a
> generation of readers to get quality information for free. That is
> troubling."

> The online edition of the newspaper is available for free to
> registered users, although some content, such as archived articles,
> are available only if readers pay a fee.

> Paid Web sites can help publishers draw new circulation revenue, but
> free online editions can be attractive to advertisers because they
> attract many more readers.

> Newspaper industry consultant John Morton, who heads Morton Research
> Inc., said he thinks many newspapers want to wean readers off free
> online content and transform their Web sites into paid-only
> publications.

> Free editions of newspapers on the Web are "quickly falling out of
> favor," he said. "I think you will see newspapers selling electronic
> subscriptions or print subscriptions, or a combination of both, which
> is what the Wall Street Journal does, and has been very successful
> at."

> The Journal had about 701,000 paid subscribers for its Web
> edition as of the third quarter. Online Journal subscribers pay
> $79 a year, or $39 if they also subscribe to the print version.

> In a statement, Dow Jones' president of electronic publishing Gordon
> Crovitz said his company "would be delighted" if the N.Y. Times began
> charging online subscription fees.

> "We have never understood why a publisher would charge for its news in
> one medium, such as print, then give it away for free in another
> medium, such as online," he said.

> Mathis said that when the online version of the New York Times was
> first launched in the mid-1990s, it experimented with charging readers
> outside the United States a subscription fee. She said that plan was
> dropped in 1998 in favor of a free site for all registered users.

> NOTE: NY Times is available each day at no charge to readers here of
> TELECOM Digest. 75-100 headlines from the front section, politics and
> technology sections of NYT are constantly refreshed throughout the
> day and can be viewed at
> and I hope you will enjoy it.

> NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily
> media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at
> . New articles daily.

18.7 million unique vs 701,000 defines the Times dilemma very nicely.
I get Ny Times e-mailed every day. I had WSJ but the price was too
much. (BTW they will usually drop from 79 to 59 if pushed a little).
If NYTimes charged a LOW amount I would pay.


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