Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ending the NY Times Paywall...

As a long-time daily reader of the New York Times online, it has always been extremely frustrating that certain parts of the newspaper were not made available to the public. While anyone could read the news of the day for free on their website, readers had to pay subscription fees for TimesSelect content, which basically consists of the op-ed columns and older articles in their archives. Now, however, Holly M. Sanders is reporting that this TimesSelect paywall is coming to an end. This is a positive development for not only the public at large, who will get to read more news analysis by top-notch journalistic contributors, but also for the business of the NY Times, which can expect greater profits.

Welcome to Internet Age Economics. Most of the rest of the industry discovered long ago that creating a paywall for premium content was counter-productive - potential customers who actually wanted to read the newspaper were turned away by prohibitive costs, and so more of their market went to free alternatives.

Meanwhile, eliminating paywalls and sharing the full content of the newspaper for free actually leads to increased profits in the Internet Age. As any marketing executive will tell you these days, giving your product away for free on the Web enhances your visibility and readership, thereby marketing your product to great effect. In fact, research demonstrates that it actually increases sales of the physical product. Also, giving it away for free draws more eyeballs to the website, and for a brand as famous as the NY Times, greatly increases revenue from online advertising.

How the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and other media entities expect to increase their readership and make more money by charging for content in a cyber space where nearly everything is free is beyond me. TimesSelect was a horrendous idea, as are all paywalls and other mechanisms that seek to restrict and control otherwise easily available information in an internet environment. They ought to stop obsessing over how to protect and control, and instead focus on how to take advantage of the new economic realities.

Good riddance.
  

1 Comments:

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Now if we can get ESPN to do the same the internet would be a better place. Stupid INsider information. I mean come on let me read the stuff. the worst is wehn you start reading it and then boom they cut you off and want you to pay. It is just a shame ESPN is so damn money hungry. They are always plugging their own shows and shoving them in everyones faces. Perfect example of it, PTI during half time of Monday night football. I like the show just as much as any one else but do I need to see it at halftime? no, just give me the highlights from sunday, the highlights from the first half and an analysis of what to expect in the second half. bunch a jerks.

 

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