The New York Times (NYT) will soon begin to charge some readers to read the paper. The NYT will adopt a model similar to the Financial Times, which charges readers only if they read more than a set number of articles monthly.
The “metered” approach allows casual readers to keep reading the New York Times uninterrupted, allowing pageviews and ad dollars to continue uninterrupted. Heavy readers of the paper will be asked to pay. Given that they are already the most dedicated readers of the Times, they are the most likely pony up cash to continue reading.
This is not the New York Times’ first time round the pay-wall tree. The NYT had before run a product called TimesSelect, which they shuttered do to lack of reader interest, and blowback from high profile columnists whose content, placed behind the wall, became very much less read.
The metered approach is an attempt to fix those problems. Readers can still access the paper for free, up to a fair maximum. Later, if they decide that the NYT is the paper for them, a decision that they make by reading the paper consistently, they will be asked to contribute financially.
This may be the business model moving forward for newspapers online. Of course, the Wall Street Journal has found much success with its traditional subscriber model, but the NYT is loth lose its growing spot as the premier English newspaper in the world.
According to Compete, NYTimes.com served some 15 million unique readers in the US alone in December.