The New York Times is going to start charging for use of their website. It's kind of a bummer to the readers, but it's something that some of these larger papers will have to do if they want to stay afloat as in-depth reporting isn't cheap. At least that's what they tell us.
It will be interesting to see how this goes as the Times will probably be the best example of what can go wrong or what can go right once a paywall is enforced on a website that used to run free of charge to the reader.
Let's take a look at some of the changes that are coming to the Times in the near future.
1) When does this stuff start?
According to the New York Times' website, this new subscription plan will launch on March 28th. It's definitely been a long time in the planning, as even back when the Times launched their iPad App. We're sure they were planning for a long time before that as finding a way to generate revenue has been a problem with online media for a long time as ad space is much cheaper than it is on print.
2) How much is it going to cost?
There are a few payment plans here. It's a tiered system, with each plan giving you access to more services:
NYTimes.com + Smartphone App – $15 for every four weeks
NYTimes.com + Tablet App – $20 for every four weeks
All Digital Access – $35 for every four weeks
All of these plans give you unlimited access to the Times. We will see how the payment plans go
Image from the New York Times
3) Arriving through Facebook or a Google search means you won't be blocked.
One of the good things about this new paywall plan is that it won't block you out if you arrive through a Google search or a Facebook link. They obviously thought this one out, as our reaction when we arrive at a website with a paywall that doesn't allow us to reach an article we were linked to, we simply say "Okay, I'll read my news somewhere else."
If anything, this will let a visitor read the article. Whether or not they like the content enough to pay for access is remains to be seen, but at least it doesn't lock them out completely and turn them off to the idea of ever again reading the site.
4) I Subscribe to the print edition, so what happens to me?
You have nothing to worry about as far as the website goes. According to the Times, if you subscribe to the print edition, you have full access to the website at no extra charge. That applies even to those who subscribe only to the sunday paper.
What do you think?
Readers, what do you think of a paywall? Will you move onto another source for information? Would you be happy to buy one of their subscription plans, or do so at another price? Let us know in the comments.