New York Times considers $5 monthly sub

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From Bloomberg:

July 9 (Bloomberg) — New York Times Co. said in a survey of print subscribers that it’s considering a $5 monthly fee for access to its namesake newspaper’s Web site.

Times Co. also asked whether subscribers would be willing to pay a discounted fee of $2.50 a month for access to the site, in the poll confirmed today byCatherine Mathis, a company spokeswoman. Nytimes.com, the most visited among newspapers’ sites, is currently free.

Times Co. is contemplating additional sources of revenue as marketers slow spending on the Internet. Ad sales at the publisher’s sites, also including about.com and boston.com, fell 8 percent and 3.5 percent in the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2008 respectively. They gained 6.5 percent last year.

Falling online ad revenues and falling print circulation make introducing a web subscription charge the obvious choice.  I’m looking forward to when someone moves from thinking about doing this to actually trying it.  At that point we will have a watershed moment for web business models, whether the experiment works or not.

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  • But a paywall isn't a new idea, and many companies have tried and abandoned the web subscription idea, even the NY Times: remember Times Select? (granted, not a complete paywall, but still…)

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  • Hi Nick,
    I just downloaded the FT iPhone app – you can get it here http://bit.ly/qFaCe. I can see myself being drawn into a subscription. I think this will work really well for them – I have less of a problem paying for access to good specialist on the go.

    I can see other specialist media sites adopting a similar approach. I think this will be harder to make work for mainstream media in the short term. As you say, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the market reacts when the first player makes their move.

  • Tks Henry. Mobile could well be easier to charge for as there are fewer good free alternatives. I can see myself subscribing for the ft on mobile too, and maybe even saving money.

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