On my way to work, I usually pick up two free dailies and read them. The amount of news these provide get me started for the day. Now, I am not a cheapo, but I prefer to read most of the news online rather than using a full-fledged newspaper. These free dailies are small and I finish reading them by the time I reach my work place.
Now, for the past couple of days, there has been a big news going around in the tech industry about a new paywall being implemented by New York Times starting from March 28.
Once the new paywall has been implemented, non-print subscription users will have to pay $15 a month for accessing NY Times content on their computers or a mobile device, $20 a month to access it on a computer or through the NY Times iPad app, or $35 a month to access it from any device. So, starting from March 28, 2011, users will have to pay $180 a year on the lower side or $420 a year on the higher side to read the NY Times. However, you get free access to online content if you are a print edition subscriber.
Now that is not a small amount and it may definitely mean that NY Times will lose out on several users in the coming few months. On the other hand, NY Times will also get a lot of serious people to subscribe to their services and tap into new sources of revenues.
The Wall Street Journal has had this feature for a long time now, however, they allow certain sections of their website to be accessed for free, whilst providing access to certain articles to paid users.
Will You Pay For NY Times Subscription?
There is no doubt that NY Times news quality and coverage is the best in the industry and you might not get to read exclusive articles from them if you don’t agree to pay for it. However, considering that news is freely available on the Internet, would you pay for a subscription of NY Times?
What if other news sites go paid too, would you keep subscribing to all of them? Agreed that everyone has to make money, but most of the websites survive on advertisements. Of course, making content paid is a way to earn more revenue, but will it be successful? Well only time will tell.
Accessing NY Times for Free
So does this mean that it the end of free news on NY Times? Well not exactly, NY Times will allow users to read up-to 20 stories for free in a month. However, it is unclear on how they will manage this quota and whether it will require users to create an account or they will track this through cookies or IP addresses.
However, there is also another way to access NY Times content for free. While this is not exactly a hack, it is basically a loophole which has been in use for a long time on sites like WSJ and more. People who visit NY Times through a search engine like Google or Bing will be able to read the articles for free and it will not count towards their monthly quota of 20 articles.
In addition to that NY Times may also offer free articles to users if they click a link leading to NY Times on a blog, Twitter or Facebook. However, it is not clear on how long this feature will be made available.