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NYT to decide on how to charge for online content

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by pressboxramblings07, May 16, 2009.

  1. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    A subscription to the weekly edition ought to convey access to the internet version, otherwise the Times should offer only the front page above the fold, same as you see at a news stand or box.
  2. zonazonazona

    zonazonazona New Member


    I haven't seen this anywhere else on the board, but a guy at my shop just found this -- Appears, based on this test, that Freedom is going to charge for online content now?
  3. school of old

    school of old New Member

    To me, it's a shortsighted approach.

    I'm not saying I have the ultimate answer (as if there were one) but just charging online comes off as lazy to me. These execs are too lazy and/or egotistical to realize the climate has drastically changed. They can't think within a new landscape with very different realities than the old one. Charging is seemingly the simple answer to the problem, but it's a flawed one. The situation is much more complex and requires a new way of thinking.

    To come up with a new way of procuring money would take money, time, thought. Newspapers don't want that because everything has to make money so that it pays off the massive debt amassed in the last few decades.

    I think it's OK to charge as long as you have something worthwhile charging for. Your everyday coverage by your gutted staff is not something worth charging for on the Web.
  4. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Giving away the product has worked so well on the internet balance sheet, too....
  5. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    We recently started charging for our online content, except for blogs and separate web entities in regard to our paper.

    So far, the public response has been negative, though we did have a healthy amount of new subscriptions through the first three days.

    It's definitely been interesting, for sure.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    In the NYT's case, you are still talking about a newsroom of about 1,000. And a product that some people would find difficult to function without, professionally.

    Al Neuharth said in "Confessions of an SOB" in the late 1980s that newspapers were grossly underpricing the product and that most newspapers, at the time priced at 25-50 cents, should sell for a buck. I agreed then and I agree now.
  7. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    What a difficult road this is to manage...seems like all of us in the newspaper biz are trying to figure this one out. Where is the balance?

    Personally, I like what ESPN does where the public has access to much of its site, but a sizeable portion is locked down for ESPN Insiders only -- Mag subscribers or I think you can pay an online fee for access as well.

    I heard rumor that Steve Jobs was working on some sort of ITunes for publications that would allow mags/newspapers a way to charge for their online content. Of course, just as I heard this his health went sour and I haven't seen anything about it since.
  8. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    I'd rather hear that my newspaper was going broke because no one was willing to pay for the online content than to hear that it's going broke because it gives away the content for free.

    Not being able to produce something of real value in the modern media age > stupid business strategy that screams at your audience, we don't value what we give you.
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I agree with flexmaster, ESPN has it right. So do some papers that charge access for their college coverage. Papers have to take the stuff with the most fanatical audience -- not necessarily the biggest by numbers, but by loyalty -- and charge. With the NYT, maybe that's fashion or arts or real estate, I don't know. Offer some appetizers for free, but for a whole meal they're gonna have to belly up with some cash.
  10. share24

    share24 Member

    It comes down to people being willing to pay for something they can get elsewhere for free.

    No, the NYT writers aren't available on another site, but the news is.

    Batch the print product (subscription) with the online content...need to subscribe to one to get the other...then, give the people what they want.

    The online site has to be more than just the print product on your PC screen. It needs to be interactive, up to date and newsworthy. Keep your subscribers coming back to your site.

    But, the basic principle is simple...force them to subscribe to the print product by also subscribing them to the online product. Give them both...but the product has to be worth it.

    Too many newspapers have made the mistake of simply adding a website and sending their readers there. For what? Use the site to become a source of news 24/7, not just when the paper hits the pavement the next day.

    It has to be more than blogs. There's a way...is there a will?
  11. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Without subscription fees, the amount of money spent on people to create this up-to-date, interactive, newsworthy content will dwarf the revenue you get from the web site.
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