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NY Times to Charge for Online Content

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Doug Brott, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

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    Maybe not. The New York Times is currently packaged in many ways. The "print" edition, the "web" edition (US and Global), the "electronic" edition, Times "skimmer", Times "reader", a "mobile phone" edition and RSS feeds, via Times "widgets".

    I'm pretty sure if one of these doesn't play well on the Apple tablet or someone's wireless e-book reader, The Times will be able to repackage itself yet again for that format. :) Actually, after playing with it, I think the Times "reader" edition is probably perfect for a tablet or e-book.

    As the current publisher and chairman, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., said in a 1994 New York magazine interview: "Hell, if someone would be kind enough to invent the technology, I'll be pleased to beam it directly into your cortex. We'll have the City Edition, the Late City Edition and the Mind-Meld edition."
     
  2. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    The problem becomes who is going to pay to generate the news. Somebody still has to pay those writers. So if they can't generate enouigh money to pay the writers through advertising, then subscriptions are the only other option

    My dad has a Kindle subscription to USAToday. It downloads automatically each morning. The Kindle is great for him as he is 90 and really doesn't get out much to browse books beyond what is at the local drugstore or Kroger. So he can search via his favorite authors etc. and buy the book on the spot. Or he can tell me what books he wants and I can log onto Amazon and order them for him(his Kindle is on my Amazon account). Plus he can make the font as big as he needs to.

    They aren't cheap, but are remarkable devices. If they only made a color version.
     
  3. lee635

    lee635 Hall Of Fame

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    I think that a fundamental problem is that with today's technology we have too many reporters. Think about digital cameras: Years ago, you had to pay someone to take pictures of your kid's little league team. Now, one of the parents takes the pictures and makes copies for everyone. The pictures maybe aren't quite as crisp as the professional photos, but they are good enough.

    With news reporting there are lots of folks, like bloggers, who will report on a topic, so they crowd out and effectively reduce the value of traditional reporters. Also, let's be honest, there isn't very much indepth, investigative, research-oriented reporting around anymore anyway. As a result, the bloggers and others are producing content a lot cheaper and the quality often isn't all that different from paid reporters.

    Reporters used to earn a premium because they had content that you couldn't get anywhere else, now we have lots of folks posting news online. So it's not just that the paper is being replaced by the web, it's also that professional reporters are being replaced by "open source" reporting. JMHO.
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

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    If "open source" reporting wins, say good-bye to wonderfully written and edited pieces like the J.D. Salinger obit that ran in yesterday's Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/books/29salinger.html
     
  5. Via Cassian

    Via Cassian Cool Member

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    I like the idea of paying for content and pay for the content I want to read. In a way, it's like paying to hear music. A lot comes free and that's fine, but for some news content paying is a good way for me to get exactly what I want.

    John
    Tampa
     
  6. DawgLink

    DawgLink Woof Woof Woof

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    I am torn on this issue

    On one hand, I am used to getting all of my news for free online. If one site goes pay, I would just skip over it and go on to the others that aren't. I suspect many others would follow that as well (not everyone though)

    One the other, I understand and agree with papers needing to charge something. The ads won't cover the expenses of the paper. They need to make money somehow.
     
  7. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    The local newspaper in my hometown, Foster's Daily Democrat, family owned since its inception in 1873, is presently passing through probate, as its fourth or fifth generation partiarch passed away last fall. On Friday, the newspaper ran a front page article written by the new President and Publisher, a girl of my generation, who mentioned that no working financial model for a modern newspaper has yet emerged and that they would be trying to mortgage their building and leasing it back, to help resolve "estate" matters. This is an "old money" family that one would expect had the practice of trust funds down pat, so I am guessing that an estate plan that was viable before the banking crisis and subsequent tightness was no longer viable when the patriarch died last fall.

    I had been impressed with the internet version of that paper. They dress up the front page with a lot of what I like to call, "Nick Nolte" mugshots of just about anyone who is arrested for anything. To get them that quick, I suspect that an arrangement has been made for them to have direct access into the Police Department's digitized mugshot collection. They also have so many bylines on locally produced articles that they must be buying those articles on a per-article basis. I bet they have no more than a few full time reporters anymore.

    I was astounded to read that the print circulation of their nearest local competitor, The Portsmouth Herald, has actually gone up since 2001. That aberration may have been possible only because the previous owner had managed it so poorly that my city's local paper had a larger share of the daily print newspaper business in that city than it should have. Eventually, they will both surely give up their print editions, but the ensconsed distribution advantage that Fosters has for its print edition will eventually be worth nothing to it, opening the door for just about anyone who comes up with a newspaper name (Post, Times, Globe, etc.) and writes opinions everyday.
     
  8. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    I am very happy to pay for the online version of my local paper.

    The Brunswick (GA) News has published a full online version in .pdf format for several years now. My subscription runs $20 per quarter for six issue per week (no Sundays), about the same cost as delivery and considerably less than on the street. As a .pdf, each page is an exact replica of the print version.

    - on my 22.6" monitor, a page reads almost full width
    - eliminates having to hold the paper, somewhat problematic for me
    - scalable as needed, for these old eyes
    - full archives with search capability back to 2001
    - no wet papers in the bushes or on the roof
    - ready to read at 6:00am for us early risers
    - no stacks of old papers to have to store and deliver for recycling
    - web/email addresses, whether in text or display ads, are hot-linked
    - perhaps best of all, no newsprint residue on my fingers :sure:

    For me, it's a no-brainer -- paying for a full-version online subscription works for me
     
  9. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    Unfortunately for the newsaper business, those who are (edit) already print edition subscribers are the only group that presently will consider paying for an online subscription. The newspaper audience is like the horse racing audience. Each time one customer dies, there isn't a new one comong along to replace him.
     
  10. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I've had a paid online subscription with NYTimes for quite a while. I read it often and love the crossword. IIRC, you've always needed a paid subscription for anything beyond just the past couple of days of content.

    With subscriptions dropping, industry wide, it's just a matter of time before they started charging for access to additional content.

    IMO, the online content isn't any different then newstand copy so why shouldn't they get the subscription revenue?

    Mike
     

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