The New York Times (NYT) appears ready to start charging for access to its site, but it doesn’t know how it’s going to do it, or when it will do it.
John Koblin at the New York Observer reports that people in the newsroom are saying, “There isn’t much of a split over charging, but there’s a real split over how to charge…Will it be per article? Or how to access the Web site generally? I don’t think anyone believes they’re not going to charge for something, but there is a split over the structure.”
Koblin also spoke with NYT executive editor Bill Keller who says the final decision will be “a gut call about what we think the audience will accept and how we think the market will evolve.”
There’s two systems being considered. One is similar to the FT where you get a certain amount of stories free, then you have to pay up. The other is a membership where you basically just give money to the Times out of the goodness of your heart. Think PBS, you’ll get a tote bag, says Koblin
The decision is up to Arthur Sulzberger and Janet Robinson, who will likely choose before year end.
We pray they opt for some sort of metered system, not the membership. When we devised a plan to save the New York Times in January we strongly endorsed a partial paywall for the paper. Even if the company lost a little bit of traffic, it would gain new revenue from subs, and potentially be able to charge a higher ad rate. Click through for the full analysis →