On today’s New York Times Co. earnings call, executives said they are looking to hire some people to help build their paywall.
Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president of digital operations, said they will use a “modest operating cost to deploy the technology.”
“We’re hiring a handful of people,” he noted.
The Times is mostly utilising their in-house team of engineers to build the metered system — “the usual suspects,” according an insider. We hear from sources that will include people on the Marc Frons’ team (he’s the CTO of digital operations), techies at R&D, and other software engineers who already work for the Times.
They won’t be taking tech services from Journalism Online, we hear. And executives have been hesitant to partner with competitors, like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Last year, News Corp. executives were reportedly shopping WSJ.com technology and pitching a publishing consortium that would charge for content.
We heard from a Times insider earlier this week that executives are considering hiring consultants to help refine their print and digital payment systems. Some people on the metered paywall-building team don’t think it’s necessary, but executives are concerned about making the payment process as “seamless” as possible, as president and CEO Janet Robinson noted in the conference call this morning.
Robinson said the metered model is taking a year to build “to make sure this user experience is frictionless.” The Times needs to mould their home delivery and digital payment systems during the year, she said. “We felt it was very important to get this right,” she said. “The talent in the house is well prepared to do so.”
As for outsiders, who might they consider bringing into the fold?
We heard one name that might be tossed around: Booz & Company, the management strategy consulting firm. David Perpich, the nephew of former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger and a fifth-generation member of the Sulzberger-Ochs family, works for them. Here’s a white paper he recently helped write on B2B marketing.
When we contacted them, Booz & Co. reps. said they would not name clients. The Times‘ official reps. did not return messages.
But Booz’s partners have done some significant research into the future of media. They publish an award-winning quarterly magazine, strategy+business, which was previously directed by Randall Rothenberg. He joined Booz after six years at the New York Times. He is now the CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
This summer, the magazine printed a lengthy study on reinventing the media business written by Booz partners Matthew Egol and Harry Hawkes, and senior associate Greg Springs. The partners’ overall message to media companies included offering focused, specialised premium content for paid users.
According to the Times‘ strategy, users will be able to access NYTimes.com for a certain amount of clicks a month for free. Then they will be charged. Print edition subscribers will be able to access the site for free. “That’s part of the underlying value of the brand,” CEO Robinson said.
The Times‘ plans to bring in any kind of consultants or other team members are still in the “very early stages.” Booz & Company have not been hired, according to our sources.
Although there are no definite decisions on who else they will bring in to get their hands on the wall, the Times has until January 2011 to get it right.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.