The New York Times is finally getting ready to launch its paywall.
Recent reports suggest the company will charge ~$19.99 a month for the iPad app + unlimited online access and ~$9.99 a month for unlimited online access alone.
Everyone will get to read some number of online stories for free each month (~20?), and stories will be accessible via links from third-party sites like this one. (One open question is whether these stories will count toward a user’s ~20 per month. We would assume they would).
The company’s print subscribers will also get free unlimited web access.
So how many incremental online subscribers will the NYT get?
We’ve been estimating 1-2 million or so after a few years.
The results of a survey we just did on Business Insider suggest that the paywall will see some initial success. It’s hard to translate the survey results into hard subscriber estimates, but they suggest that a reasonable percentage of NYT readers might sign up, at least for unlimited online access.
Charts and questions on the following pages. Here are some key results:
* ~10% of those surveyed subscribe to the print edition. These subscribers will NOT need to sign up for web access. Web subscribers, therefore, will have to come from the remaining 90%.
* A startling ~70% of those surveyed visit the NYT’s home page at least a few times a week. 40% visit it a few times a day. On their own, these statistics are VERY encouraging for the NYT.
* ~30% of those surveyed read “hundreds” of New York Times’ stories each month. At least 2/3 of these folks are NOT print subscribers. So these two-thirds will either have to curtail their NYT reading or pony up.
* ~10% of those who do NOT subscribe to the print edition say YES THEY WILL PAY FOR ACCESS. Another ~10% say they MIGHT pay for access. The rest say they will NOT pay for access.
* Only 3% say they will pay for both iPad and online access.
Assuming our reader base matches up reasonably well demographically with that of NYT readers, it seems reasonable to conclude that 10%-20% of regular readers who are not print subscribers might sign up for unlimited online access.
Recent estimates of the New York Times online readership are about 15 million people a month. This presumably includes most of the paper’s 800,000 print subscribers. Assuming 10% of the remaining 14 million might eventually sign up for online access, our 1-2 million estimate seems reasonable.
Two other critical considerations here are 1) whether the NYT will lose a ton of ad revenue from those who currently consume a lot of pages but won’t pay for access, and 2) whether print subs will be more likely to retain their paper subscriptions because the content isn’t available completely for free online.
Based on this survey, the answer to the first question seems to be no–only a relative small number of folks (10% of those surveyed) consume enough pages to trigger the pay wall and say they won’t pay up. The answer to the second seems to be common sense: Yes, it will provide a small incentive not to quit the paper versus the current situation.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.