Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thirty-five Subscribers

We have blogged recently about the decision by The New York Times and other newspapers to put their content behind pay walls. The justification for this move is to generate revenue that will pay for high-quality news operations; the newspaper management states that they cannot afford to give away their content. They might want to take a look at Newsday, the Long Island daily that put its website behind a pay wall in late October. The New York Observer ran a trenchant article about the website today. "So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to newsday.com?" The answer is thirty-five, which represents gross revenues of about $9,000. As web traffic declines, it is likely that advertisers will flee and take their business elsewhere. One of the reasons people might not want to pay to read Newsday online is that the paper is not what it used to be. It once was a respected publication, but now it has no national correspondents or foreign bureaus. Would higher-quality content lead to more subscribers? All eyes will be on the Times when its pay wall goes live next year.


Marie S. Newman said...

The New York Times has a good piece today on the paper's plans to start charging for content: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/how-to-make-readers-pay-happily/?8ty&emc=ty The author favors a micropayment system.

Grace Mills said...

What of people who already have print subscriptions? (Yes, we do exist.) Will we have to pay extra to view NYT online and perhaps send an interesting article to our our colleagues?

Marie S. Newman said...

I think the Times is planning to give subscribers to the print edition "free" access to the online edition. I don't know about forwarding articles, which is something I too like to do.