The New York Times will announce the “pricing and specifics” of its online metered paywall model “toward the latter part of the year,” the company’s senior vice president of digital operations, Martin Nisenholtz, said during a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston today.
Nisenholtz said The Times will spend the summer “programming and developing” the technology that will require non-print-subscribers to pay for content on NYTimes.com once they hit a certain amount of page views starting in January 2011.
“Then we’ll enter into the testing phase, then develop our marketing programs” before announcing how much the metered model will cost readers, he said.
Nisenholtz also said The Times’ homepage “will remain a free part of the site.”
But details have been scarce.
New York Times CEO Janet Robinson said: “It’s taking so long because we want to get this right. We want to make sure this is a frictionless user experience.”
Nisenholtz and Robinson were at the J.P. Morgan conference to talk about The New York Times Co.’s business strategy and ad revenue prospects.
In a statement sent out ahead of their presentation, Robinson said The Times expected print and digital ad revenues to improve during the second quarter. (During the first quarter, The Times posted a 12% decrease in print advertising revenue and a 6% overall advertising revenue decline.)
We tuned into their talk via webcast but missed the first half because The Times was having technical difficulties.
Here’s a liveblog with our notes:
11:18 We’re waiting for the event to begin. But uh oh! “Our apologies: We are experiencing severe network problems at the conference. At this time, we are investigating. Please try accessing webcasts again in a while.”
11:25 OK the webcast is definitely not working. A NYT rep says they’re “looking into it right now.” Stay tuned…
11:34 We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume this is going to be a liveblog fail. If the webcast doesn’t kick in live, The Times says a recorded version will be posted later today.
11:40 And we’re back!
11:41 Talking about iPad ap.
11:42 Nisenholtz: We’ver very excited about these rich media applications. The Times brings a great brand and fantastic audience to the marketplace. In that kind of environment, I think advertisers will just be all over it. Advertisers very anxious to come with great brands like ours.
11:43 Robinson: As we add more to our digital portfolio it expands The Times advertiser base. 80% of ad base is multiplatform. Opportunity for very diverse revenue stream.
11:45 Right now, any of the Kindle subscriptions count toward paid circulation and that will be case with iPad as well.
11:46 On metered paywall, Nisenholtz: We’re busily programming and developing the offer. We will do that through the summer. Then we’ll enter into the testing phase, then develop our marketing programs. Then we’ll announce the pricing and specifics around the meter and issues that touch the consumer directly as we get out toward the latter part of the year. The challenge for us is, we do have the largest advertising business among our peers. We have to make sure our subscription side and ad side work in collaboration to maximise overall revenues. Homepage will remain a free part of the site. We’re very carefully designing this model to maximise subscription and ad revenues at the same time.
11:47 Robinson: It’s taking so long because we want to get this right. We want to make sure this is a frictionless user experience.
11:48 Audience Q&A starts.
11:48 Q about TimesSelect and why it didn’t work. Why will paid online model work now if TimesSelect didn’t?
11:49 Nisenholtz talking about why TimesSelect ended: To get the website to greater scale. Have now grown website to a point where conversions off the existing base will get us off to a positive on the metered model.
11:51 Robinson: We also increased ad inventory and # of advertisers who have utilized the website since TimesSelect ended.
11:52 Audience Q about outlook for major metros. Robinson discussing.
11:54 Q: What can you do to stop the migration of readers from more profitable print product to the lower revenue online product?
Robinson: We can’t demand of a consumer where they will digest their news. Our job is to benefit from the changes. One of the reasons why we integrated print and digital and invested in online so early on was because we saw that change. We are preserving our loyal readers at every paper we have by our commitment to quality. We’re continuing to raise the rates both in regard to ads and the paid model. From the standpoint of us demanding what a consumer should buy, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to be everywhere a consumer can digest the brand. We have to be agnostic, be a brand that’s available across platforms.
11:57 That’s it! Cue synthy harp music signaling the end of the presentation.
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