NYT Online Makes Pay Plan Official
The New York Times has made the speculation official announcing it will charge for some of its online content. A new product, called TimesSelect, will place many of the paper's columnist behind a $49.95 per year wall yet subscribers to the physical paper will be able to access all online content for free. Reportedly, general news will continue to remain free for all. The fee also grants access to the paper's archives which currently date back to 1980 and will ultimately offer content back to 1851. New York Times SVP of Digital Operations Martin Nisenholtz hopes the move will add an additional revenue stream for the company without cannibalizing current levels of ad revenue.
An intriguing metrics to consider is the effect this will have on bloggers driving traffic to the paper. It's unclear how much, exactly, blogging has affected traffic to newspaper sites but it's common practice for bloggers to link to newspaper content, particularly that of the New York Times. This can work two way. Either bloggers will get frustrated and stop linking or, they will subscribe, link and continue to push readers to the paper who, as a result, may subscribe.
It is very clear, though, if this model succeeds, every paper in the country will jump on board and assess to content as we currently know it will change dramatically. That seismic change will cause ripples through the web not seen since Mahir. OK, so maybe there's a better example but you get the picture.