As you may have heard by now, The New York Times announced today their strategy for paying for articles that people read via internet and mobile devices after a certain amount of visits.
As Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of the Times, said in a letter published today, “It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform.” In the Times article, Sulzberger goes on further:
“This move is an investment in our future,” he said. “It will allow us to develop new sources of revenue to support the continuation of our journalistic mission and digital innovation, while maintaining our large and growing audience to support our robust advertising business. And this system is our latest, and best, demonstration of where we believe the future of valued content — be it news, music, games or more — is going. The challenge now is to put a price on our work without walling ourselves off from the global network, to make sure we continue to engage with the widest possible audience.”
Of course, anyone who has a passing interest in newspapers, the publishing field, and in those of us who help to feed the machine with content all saw this coming (and you can bet every newspaper of every size around the world is watching this experiment). Now am I upset at this? Yes and no: Yes because information should be free but at the same time the Times needs to make money and sadly advertising dollars are waning in the print circle and on-line advertising is not growing fast enough.
It will be exciting to see if The Gray Lady can make this work.