Yeah, I still see this backfiring in their faces. Even with their waivers for people who find their articles via blogs and social media, this “20 stories a month” business, I think, will not go over well. People are just far too used to information being free (or relatively free). Hell, they’re more willing to pay for Pandora Plus than a New York Times digital subscription.
Then again, the real issue may be with the Times‘ editorial stance, and the fact that it is sort of–how do I put it–out of touch with the rest of society. Even the Washington Post seems to be more on the ball on that front. The problem isn’t that people aren’t paying, the problem is that the Times is not seen as America’s paper anymore; it’s seen as catering to a far smaller population. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it just means they’ll have to downsize. And there are some other problems that the mainstream media in general is facing. Lack of credibility, anyone?
I really doubt that a paywall is going to help the Times, unless it’s to help bury it.
Interesting clarifications from the paper (also available via above link to Outside the Beltway; in fact, this particular bit is copied from OTB since the Times has a really effing stupid formatting that mucks everything up)
This is how it will work, and what it means for you:
• On NYTimes.com, you can view 20 articles each month at no charge (including slide shows, videos and other features). After 20 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.
• On our smartphone and tablet apps, the Top News section will remain free of charge. For access to all other sections within the apps, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.
• The Times is offering three digital subscription packages that allow you to choose from a variety of devices (computer, smartphone, tablet). More information about these plans is available atwww.nytimes.com/access.
• Again, all New York Times home delivery subscribers will receive free access to NYTimes.com and to all content on our apps. If you are a home delivery subscriber, go to http://homedelivery.nytimes.com to sign up for free access.
• Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.
• The home page at NYTimes.com and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all users at all times.
(Some eagle-eyed readers may note that I’m paraphrasing a line from Shakespeare of all places in my heading. Guess what? I don’t care. It has its effect.)