The launch of The New York Times’ metered online pay model is less than three months away.
So far, we know that that Times has been in “active development mode” on the paywall since July. We know that there are various pricing options being considered — including one that would bundle the cost with home delivery subscriptions — and that Times executive editor Bill Keller recently said “the fee will be modest but hasn’t been set yet.”
And now, we also know that the paywall will employ a “first click free” strategy whereby readers can view a single page before being prompted to pony up.
UPDATE – Peter Kafka notes he reported back in May that The Times was planning a “blogger-friendly pay wall.“
At the World Editors’ Forum in Hamburg, Germany, on Wednesday, Times CEO Janet Robinson (who Forbes just named one of the world’s most powerful women) said the goal was to ensure that NYTimes.com remains a part of the “open web ecosystem.”
The decision to offer some articles for free and remain open to blogs and social networks via “first-click” is in stark contrast to News International’s decision to take the Times [of London] out of Google News’ index and to introduce a site-wide paywall in July.
More details of the forthcoming metered model, its pricing point and the subscription packages involving print and online to be offered by the New York Times will be announced later this year, she said, adding that readers will have access to a set number of free articles a month.
Robinson also said The Times won’t stray from the “online conversation” as a result of the paywall.
The same cannot be said for News Corp.’s London Times, which as of August had lost 1.2 million readers since it required them to start paying for online content in May. That publication also has been losing credit for big scoops because the majority of online readers are not able to access its stories on the web, according to Ian Burrell of The Independent, who reported last month that some advertisers and publicists have stopped working with the paper’s website.
The Times’ metered paywall will be its second attempt to charge for online content. The first, TimesSelect, came to an unsuccessful end in 2007.
The New York Times Co. recently announced paywall plans for another one of its properties, The Boston Globe, which in nine months will split its online brand into two separate sites — the existing boston.com, which will remain free yet limited in content, and bostonglobe.com, which will require a paid subscription and feature all content from the print edition.
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