The NYT will stay free

By Felix Salmon
July 16, 2009

FT editor Lionel Barber isn’t content with charging for his own content, he also reckons that every other news organisation is going to follow suit. Here are some quotes from a speech he gave last night:

I confidently predict that within the next 12 months, almost all news organisations will be charging for content…

We are seeing sustained and growing revenue as a result of our strategy of premium pricing for quality, niche global content – crucial at a time of weakening advertising. Many news organisations are following suit in charging, latterly the New York Times which had previously come down in favour of free access to its own content.

If Barber is confident that “almost all” news organisations will be charging for content within 12 months, and that the NYT is a gimme, then I’m happy to propose a wager with Mr Barber: that at no time within the next 12 months will the NYT charge for the content it’s currently giving away for free. What do you say, Lionel, a bottle of vintage champagne to the winner?

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I’m fairly convinced that Barber doesn’t actually believe that. I suspect he’s engaging in a bit of incitement to collude:
http://stevereads.com/weblog/2009/07/16/ signaling-price-fixing-among-the-webs-ne wspapers/