With 668,000 paying digital subscribers, and revenue of $2bn in 2012, The New York Times is often held aloft as some sort of poster child of traditional news’ ability to transform into a successful digital enterprise.

With that in mind, The New York Times has lifted opened the doors of its paywall ever so slightly from today, letting all NYTimes.com and mobile Web/app users access video for free.

The New York Times says that access is entirely open and unconditional, and is available to all users regardless of their subscription status. Any video views won’t count against the 10-article per month limit set for non-subscribers.

NYTVideo 730x391 The New York Times makes its online videos available to all users for free
The initiative comes courtesy of a somewhat strange hook-up with Acura, the luxury car division of Japanese automaker Honda, and Microsoft. Looking at the videos currently available, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious branding in place from either company beyond the initial announcement message.

“As we continue to tell stories through video and increase our offerings, we want to ensure NYTimes.com users can watch and explore our video content with ease,” says Denise Warren, executive vice president, Digital Products and Services Group, The New York Times, said. “We are grateful to Acura and Microsoft for providing the support we need to continue to expand our best-in-class video content and deliver it to our vast NYTimes.com audience.”

NYTimes.com features live and on-demand video by category, including Editor’s Choice, World, Business, Science, Opinion and more.

This is a significant move by The New York Times, given that most of its content sits firmly behind a paywall. Opening its videos to the masses will help open it to further potential subscribers, but more than that it can boost its viewing figures significantly, which in turn should drive up advertising costs for companies looking for a slot in the pre-roll ads.

Also, The New York Times is already making its videos available through other channels, including YouTube, so it does seem to make sense that it would just open the gates to the content through its main portal.

A smart move for sure, and one that comes just a month after it debuted the prototype of an all-new NYTimes.com, with a cleaner app-like design. Only five months into 2013, The New York Times is really pushing its efforts in the digital space, and making its videos free for everyone can only help its efforts.

Feature Image Credit – Getty