Finding Chinks in The New York Times Paywall

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brett Pulley, reporter for Bloomberg,  comments on The New York Times paywall which was announced this week. Joining him will be Catharine Taylor, columnist for  


Brett Pulley

Comments [20]

Edward from NJ

@hjs11211, the NYTimes web site sells your info just as much as facebook does. When you visit the Times online, the ads are being targeted based on your past browsing and any info they managed to get out of you when you subscribed. My point was that facebook only has the costs of maintaining a website, so they can make a profit through advertising -- aka, selling your info -- alone. The Times has most of those costs and also has to pay for content. Facebook also has hundreds of millions of monthly visitors, versus tens of millions for the Times, so the amount they need to get out of each user is lower.

Mar. 18 2011 11:42 AM

im sad for the nyt. this is a big fail for them. confusing, unimaginative, very expensive.

clearly this is just designed to boost sales of the paper version, rather than create a viable, profitable digital version.

i just bought and ipad 2. dear nyt, guess what? your ipad app is seriously not very good. (not at all engaging, doesn't feel like its up-to-the minute like the website, nothing at all to make me love it and use it)

im a new yorker so yeah, im gonna subscribe to your paper paper so i can read your website and play your crossword puzzles. (oh did we not mention that unless you subscribe to paper the crossword puzzle is still another $40 a year!) but listen this sucks ok? i dont like big machines and trucks and dead trees, you're really bringing me down.

instead of a new profitable digital subscriber, im an old fashioned paper subscriber. i want my money to be a vote for your digital paper, but you're making me vote for your paper paper. (at least i can use it for my dog to pee on)

what is so hard to understand about $0.99 a week? oh yeah:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
Upton Sinclair

Mar. 18 2011 11:26 AM

Edward from NJ
not my point
my point is they sell your info. ny times could do that also.

Mar. 18 2011 11:12 AM
StevenCinNYC from 10025

The discussion missed a couple key points about the absurdity of the pricing model. It costs MORE to get the NY Times electronically than it does to get the physical paper. Plus, they penalize people who want to access their content on multiple platforms even though the content is the same and the user is just one person.

So if I want to access NYT content on my computer, mobile device, and iPad, I can either pay $8.75/week for an electronic-only subscription or pay $3.10/week for 5-day subscription (which goes up to $6.20 without the discount).

It makes no sense. It's the opposite of "green." They can't possibly make more money on printing and moving around physical newspapers than they can by selling the same content electronically. They are actually penalizing what I assume would be their most desirable demographic (people who buy multiple electronic devices, including a computer, mobile, and iPad are probably people that advertisers want to target).

Ultimately, paying $8.75/week for an electronic-only subscription is a stupidity tax of at least $2.55/week over the cost of the physical paper which includes the electronic subscription.

Mar. 18 2011 11:12 AM
Gretchen from Delmar, NY

As a former web designer for a Fortune 500 company in NYC now living in an upstate hinterland, I both have a sense of how much work goes into making and can't imagine life without it. I'm happy to pay up.

Mar. 18 2011 11:04 AM
fabio carasi from Montclair NJ

I don't have objections to the idea of paying for content, but the Times chose the worst possible method: Subscription. It is so old, so unimaginative, so compulsory and trite that I wonder why they couldn't come up three years ago with this system. They studied the issue to death just to come up with this model? And, on top of it, it is clumsy, confusing, weird, and complex. My prediction: it's going to be the new New Coke.

Mar. 18 2011 11:02 AM
Edward from NJ

I don't know why anyone would pay for the tablet version. If you have a tablet, you could just pay the $15 and visit the web version using you tablet's browser browser. An app may be helpful on a small phone screen, but it's really not necessary on a tablet.

Mar. 18 2011 11:02 AM
michael from brooklyn

the "weekender" (with the pompous tv commercial "i'm fluent in 3 sections actually") is only 3.15 a week. that's 163 a year.

30 bucks a month to read it on an ipad is 360 bucks. I had thought of doing this before when they first announced it, but now i'm not sure. can i get a weekend app only subscription? its all too confusing.

Mar. 18 2011 10:59 AM
Hardkandy from Nyc

$35/month is quite expensive for all access to news and articles and opinion. Many intellectuals, including academics, are on low salaries and $400/yr is just not justifiable. Maybe $15 but I would pay that just to access the nyt on my iPhone or 20 on the iPad. I'd just save the 20 for Paul Krugman's articles.

Mar. 18 2011 10:59 AM
John Hamm from nyc

I have to agree $195 a year is a lot of money.

Mar. 18 2011 10:59 AM
h l

how much air time for this topic? really?

Mar. 18 2011 10:57 AM
Susan from NYC

The NYT is a treasure, and despite a rather steep $195/year I was ready to pony up, but their policy statement says the crossword is excluded. How do they justify that?

Mar. 18 2011 10:57 AM
jacob from Brooklyn

I saw a posting on craigslist yesterday where someone in Philadelphia was offering a free subscription to someone, so that he could get the online access, which is a cheaper cost than online subscribing!

Mar. 18 2011 10:56 AM
Smokey from LES

Can I share a subscription with another person as long as only one is on at a time?

Mar. 18 2011 10:55 AM

As near as I can tell, there is no saving in a digital-only account with the new NYT pay system.

For years, the Times claimed that digital was more efficient -- no paper, no printing, no delivery costs -- but now they want to charge as much for digital as for print?

Mar. 18 2011 10:54 AM
Edward from NJ

@hjs11211, facebook spends absolutely no money on content.

Mar. 18 2011 10:54 AM
Megan from Brooklyn

I am wondering how much it is going to cost for me and my husband. We each have iPads and iPhones and laptops. If we each have to pay for an account to access content on our toys, I am just not doing it. I am worried they are preparing to gouge us.

Mar. 18 2011 10:52 AM
Smokey from LES

The time period is 4 weeks, not a month.

Mar. 18 2011 10:52 AM
antne312 from Brooklyn

The cost of the subscription is less than two cocktails, even here in Brooklyn. Please stop the whining and pay up.

Mar. 18 2011 10:46 AM

why cant the times just collect and sell my personal data like facebook does?

Mar. 18 2011 10:38 AM

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