Comments on: The economics of the NYT paywall A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: pjwst6 Thu, 21 Apr 2011 20:29:10 +0000 Nice prediction on cost. The only place you were off is that there is no annual subscription.

Today, in their quarterly posting, nytimes reported 100,000 subscribers, which if it held up would be more than $5M per year (minus loss in advertising).

By: whystop Thu, 20 May 2010 03:15:13 +0000 Finally, a serious analysis for a serious change in the revenue model. My hopes is that the subscription model will result in even more in-depth articles in order to draw in serious readers, a la The Economist. I’ve felt that over the last few years, articles were getting a bit sparse.

Now to seal the deal, they need to start paying us for recommending articles to our friends. I’ll admit, this isn’t my idea, I got it from a 5/19/10 article at
that talked about how to make the information subscription revenue model work by using freemiums, social networking, and referrals. (I’ll put the direct link at the bottom of this comment.)

I’m always referring articles I like to friends who I know will be interested. If those friends read, pay, and/or subscribe, I’d like to get my cut.

Felix, keep up the good work. I’d pay for your thoughts any day. (But I enjoy getting them for free as well!)

Here’s that direct link I promised:
http://e-marketingforsensiblefolk.blogsp model-work.html


/2010/05/making-info-subscription-model- work.html

By: albertsun Wed, 27 Jan 2010 10:52:33 +0000 One of the best reactions to news of the planned paywall.

I’ve written up a much expanded economic analysis of the paywall on my blog nalysis-of-nyt-paywall/

Many many more things need to be taken into account to truly understand how a reader will interact with a metered payment plan. For starters, the value of an article to a reader is not constant, AND the reader has to make a prediction about the future value of article’s that haven’t been read yet.

By: kevinacohn Fri, 22 Jan 2010 09:51:20 +0000 The assumption across the industry seems to be that n will be fixed. What if n is a variable depending on the time of the week, the time of the month, or even user behavior?

As you pointed out, NYT has an disincentive to charge users if they’re just grazing the paywall, especially at the end of a month, because the success rate will be very low and they risk losing that reader entirely. Instead of adjusting n across the board, they can simply adjust n for readers of a particular bend/use pattern. The software exists to do this.

Disclosure: The company that I work for, Atypon, develops and supports the application that the Financial Times uses to power’s paywall and digital commerce. New York Times Digital is also a customer.

By: Felix Salmon Thu, 21 Jan 2010 14:00:16 +0000 Rav, the sign-in problem is a known issue, and we’re in the process of fixing it. Apologies.

By: ravcasleygera Thu, 21 Jan 2010 13:25:01 +0000 One other unrelated point, which isn’t your problem, but I’d be grateful if you could pass it onto the relevants. What on earth is the point of providing a way for people to sign in to the site through another account, like Google or Facebook; if, having done so, you still have to provide your name, a username, a password, and basically all the information you’d have to provide if you simply registered properly? The point of such services is to save you from having to enter precisely that information. Your implementation should automatically create an account attached to whatever external account the person used to sign in, with details like username set automatically and invisibly.

Also, OpenID should be added to the list of sign-in methods.

Like I say, I realise this isn’t your problem; but you’ve never hesitated to point out the problems at other news sites’ websites, so…!

By: ravcasleygera Thu, 21 Jan 2010 13:21:19 +0000 I’m glad you’ve picked up on the metering point, because you seemed to have missed it altogether on your first post, which isn’t like you. I’ve always been bewildered when bloggers and the like say that a paywall means you’ll never get any links or google hits. I’m not aware of a single news site that doesn’t let you read a damn thing without paying; you always get either a limited number of articles free (a system which, my understanding is, the FT has made work) or you show the first few paragraphs of a story, or both.

The NYT clearly know this, and they intend to set n, in your example, to a number that is higher than the number of stories the average web-browser consumes in a month. You say “the key number in their mind will be N-n,” but you don’t seem to acknowledge the fact that for most users N-n will almost certainly be negative. The “long tail” applies to users as well as content: 90% of users account for a small proportion of the traffic. To these users, this change isn’t even going to be noticeable.

I think David Carr makes it completely clear that it’s the number of articles, not the cost, which they see as the variable part of the “meter.” I take your point that the FT has kept n low, but the FT is always going to have an easier time getting people to pay for a subscription, because people don’t pay with their own money, but their company’s. The NYT will need to, and I think will, keep the meter higher, and probably reintroduce some Times Select-style content which is never free, probably the stuff like property and style which is basically just read by rich folks.

As to the end-of-the-month stuff: what? Unless I’ve missed it, I’m sure the NYT hasn’t linked its monthly subs directly to the calendar month. Most monthly-billed services, like mobile phone plans, have a variable billing date.

You’re usually so sharp, Felix, but I can’t help but feel you’re so eager to condemn this move you’re scratching around for reasons to do so.

By: jomiku Thu, 21 Jan 2010 02:02:40 +0000 I like the idea, though we’ll have to see how well it works. I like the idea because media’s response to the economic issues has been to cut, cut, cut. The notable exceptions are the Times and The Economist because they have committed to producing more content that people want to read. If the test of media is that it be useful and thus attractive to you, then they need to produce better content and better content would be good.

By: ClassOf07 Thu, 21 Jan 2010 00:07:38 +0000 Terrible idea. The New York Times is a great tool for improving literacy and educating people of all ages. To deny service to those who aren’t well-off, which this would do, would be depriving people of factual and well-written journalism. It would also steer people to the sites that remain free. Those sites are often aggregators like Drudge Report and Huffington Post – which rely on sensationalist blogs and tend to ignore the facts – or wire/24 hour news services which have very short summary articles. In this economy people need access to the New York Times as it is a FREE voice of moderation in this crazy world.

By: DaveTheFirst Wed, 20 Jan 2010 21:18:57 +0000 Regarding the behavioral aspect, the “little voice in the back of your head asking “are you sure you need to read that?” before you click on any link to” It would seem that the NYTimes would have to be offering content that can not be found elsewhere in order for this question to be relevant. If the same information can be found in an article elsewhere, people will see the NYTimes headline and seek the same story from another news source.