Time’s big new paywall

By Felix Salmon
June 21, 2010
AR today, I ran straight into a Time Magazine paywall:

" data-share-img="" data-share="twitter,facebook,linkedin,reddit,google" data-share-count="true">

Is this new? Following a link from AR today, I ran straight into a Time Magazine paywall:


That’s it: lots of sharing tools, but just one paragraph of the article, and then an invitation to subscribe to the magazine ($40 per year) or download the Time iPad app ($5 per issue, which works out at $260 per year, or thereabouts). Either way, even after you’ve shelled out your cash, you still can’t read the story on Time.com, as far as I can tell.

I don’t get it: I thought that Time.com was all about maximizing pageviews, and was also a website happy to run stories talking about how “almost everybody who has ever tried charging for content has failed”.

It seems that Time has come to the conclusion that if it can’t make money charging for content on the web, it simply won’t publish that content on the web: it’ll just run a one-paragraph snippet, and force you to read the article elsewhere, if you’re so inclined. It’s an odd choice to make; I wonder how long it’ll last. And, can somebody tell me how long this has been going on? It’s certainly the first I’ve heard of it.

Update: AR says that the paywall wasn’t there this morning. Curiouser and curiouser.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Picking up on a side point from your post, why do you think print magazines are charging $5 per issue for iPad issues even if you want a yearly subscription? Do you think it is sustainable? Examples of this $5 per issue include Time, Wired and Vanity Fair. This must have something to do with advertising revenue, yet the possibility of interactive advertising, shown by Wired earlier this year, has me more interested in reading and/or interacting with advertising then I have ever been. The price difference between a print and electronic subscription is too big for most to make the switch. I can only understand this pricing model in the context of a single issue. Perhaps the yearly subscription pricing models have yet to be determined.

Posted by david3 | Report as abusive

Speaking of pageviews, the reuters.com homepage is experiencing infinite popup ad looping right now.

That should add a gajillion false (and annoying) pageviews to todays counts.

Posted by bryanX | Report as abusive

its only the article you wanted to see; all the rest looked ok to me

Posted by rjs0 | Report as abusive

That’s just typical Reuters for you, there’s no point presenting complaints to Felix (I’ve tried). My best tips are: come back in a few days, or have an array of browsers to try (I now have five at the ready) – one or the other usually gets through.
It surprises me to this day that they would invest real money in their web content (e.g. F.S. can’t be cheap) yet hire neither competent webmasters or put any type of QA team in place. To me this seems inconsistent but I’m sure they have their reasons.

Posted by bxg5 | Report as abusive