Times paywall

The only things I really like are Krugman and Bob Herbert, so it’s no skin off my nose if they want to shoot themselves in the foot.

Here’s what I’ve been suggesting for years: Create a news portal. One price covers all online member publications, and it’s paid painlessly ($10 a month on Paypal, Amazon or something similar). Then you split the advertising revenue – a combination of circulation and click-throughs that will offer the opportunity for smaller papers to compete with the larger publications for readers.

It’s nothing radical. It’s based on the same BMI/ASCAP model we already use to pay recording artists.

It’s fair, and it’s competitive, which is why they’d never agree to it.

UPDATE: Oh, and an alternative? I suggested cutting deals with the internet providers to offer the content free to their subscribers.

3 thoughts on “Times paywall

  1. i like your portal idea. it would require a lot of cooperation between news sources, which might raise antitrust issues and issues of whether the big papers would use their extra clout to bury the articles of the not-big papers to get more click-throughs. but those concerns can be worked out.

    i’m not totally convinced the NYT paywall scheme will fail. it really all depends on what the other papers do. right now, there is a lot of demand for news but the going rate for articles is free. it’s a situation that none of the papers like. but whoever puts up a paywall risks being cut out of the conversation, having their hit count drop, which means a big hit on their advertising revenue.

    the only way the pay for access scheme can work is if all the newspapers do it. so long as there are free alternatives among major news sources whoever puts up the paywall will just have their traffic go elsewhere. but because all the papers want to do something like this they are probably all watching how the NYT’s experiment works. if the NYT can still draw enough traffic to not call it a failure (and the “20 free looks/month” thing will probably keep their hit numbers up), then i expect other papers to start following the NYT’s lead. once enough of them do that, then the NYT numbers will probably go up as the pool of free alternative shrink and the news junkies eventually give in and decide that they need to pay someone to get their fix.

  2. I’m 100% with you on the portal idea, Susie, I’ve said the same thing myself many times.

    Steven Brill tried to implement something similar, but hasn’t succeeded.

    Carolyn Kay

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