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New York Times to end paid Internet service
i am not shocked
Rugles




msg:3453751
 12:47 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times Co said on Monday it will end its paid TimesSelect Web service and make most of its Web site available for free in the hopes of attracting more readers and higher advertising revenue.

TimesSelect will shut down on Wednesday, two years after the Times launched it, which charges subscribers $7.95 a month or $49.95 a year to read articles by columnists such as Maureen Dowd and Thomas

For the rest of the article... its on the internets.

Anyways, I knew it was only a matter of time before the NY Times gave up this scheme. I found it hard to believe that many people are paying 8 bucks a month to read Dowd etc. When you could wait 48 hours and they show up for free in another paper online.

Hopefully this will be the end of paying to read online newpapers. Especially when bandwidth is far cheaper than buying newsprint paper, printing, and trucking that heavy Sunday version around the continent.

They need eyeballs on their sites and this was not helping. What a surprise.

 

weeks




msg:3453909
 3:31 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's sad this did not work, but it was an oddball business model. I would like to see paid content more successful than it has been on the web. Maybe micropayments will catch on some day. That's the only thing that might work. And, that appears problematic.

Rugles




msg:3453975
 4:34 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why do you want people to pay for news? I dont understand.

They have no trouble selling advertising for the paper, I dont see a difference with the web.

mightymid




msg:3454112
 6:08 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Rugles - Agreed. I had a marketing professor once who swore up and down that free Internet content wasn't going to last. Eventually, she claimed, we'd all have to start paying for online news. I never understood why she thought that the traditional ad model wouldn't work for the web. It some ways, it works better (in that tracking ROI is easier).

Does anyone out there agree with the professor?

Rugles




msg:3454157
 6:56 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I dont get it.

When you think about the web content for the NY Times its almost free of cost for the company. Maureen Dowd writes her column for the print version, the internet department simply cuts and pastes it into a template and hits the publish button. In fact, it may even be easier than that. It could only be one step for both operations for all I know.

I think the issue is the old school management at these operations who cant get their head around the fact that people are not going to pay to read their product in the future. Add to that, the internet can scoop stories from them by publishing when stories are still just rumors and all the NY Times fact checkers are still working the phones.. See Drudge.

weeks




msg:3454324
 9:51 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why is this not good? Two sources of income are better than one, especially in the news business and the number of major marketing firms going down every year. Good journalism is expensive and I haven't seen where the revenues from the web will support it.

I don't agree that the notion of readers paying for news is reaching obsolescent. WW is not a great example of people paying for info, but the model is there. I think you'll see more of this kind of thing, where a concerned few with keen interest in a topic will have access to what the heck is going on because they are willing to pay for it. That's sad.

For the record, I'll add this from Editor and Publisher:
Journal spokeswoman Christine Mohan said more than 75% of the wsj.com content remains behind the subscription wall, which requires users to have a full print subscription or pay the $79-per-year online price. Some 983,000 online-only subscribers remain on board.

“We feel that it is a successful model, we want to grow our advertising so we are offering free content and expanded video,” she added. “But we are remaining with our model, it is riding the subscription revenue.”


lorax




msg:3454387
 11:42 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> When you think about the web content for the NY Times its almost free of cost for the company.

You're making a mistake by separating the cost of the print version and the cost of internet publication. It's the same company and the bottom line is the same. I think it was a gamble - poorly executed - to help offset the costs of the print version. I'm not saying it couldn't work the way you suggest but it would require a different business model. The industry seems to be in flux and only the savvy ones will make the free model work to their advantage but for the older papers it's going to be a rough education period. I think we're going to see a lot more papers die or get bought up in the very near future.

Lord Majestic




msg:3454392
 11:46 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

When you think about the web content for the NY Times its almost free of cost for the company.

This is based on (incorrect in my view) assumption that offline readers who pay money for the real deal won't migrate to free online content.

There is no way people online will sign up en masse for paid content for each of the newspapers they like - what newspapers need to do is to pool together and offer single fee subscription which is then split up among participating newspapers depending on number of actual articles read on each site - in effect this is the micropayments solution.

weeks




msg:3454450
 1:30 am on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

And the lord said:
...what newspapers need to do is to pool together...

Ya think?

I mean, isn't that's what Associated Press is all about? And, yet, the newspapers did not. And do not. Many tried. Real Cities, for example, is still out there. AP? They can't get any respect because, well, they respect their owners soooo much...

Go back to the dot-com boom and you'll discover that The New York Times (and many others) PAID Yahoo millions of dollars to carry their articles. I laughed then, it was so stupid. An opportunity lost forever...

The news organizations can't get together on anything. AOL announced this week Platform A. What a good idea--see, you have this one company and they all have web sites, and they all are trying to sell ads and they all are on different platforms, so it gets difficult and... WHY ARE THEY ALL ONE COMPANY ANYWAY...? (You should try to develop a simple something for the web with one of they mega-firms. No, actually, you shouldn't...)

Am I ranting? Good lord, I hope so.

Lord Majestic




msg:3454458
 1:42 am on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

The news organizations can't get together on anything

I agree, but what is happening online now is going to push them to cooperate or they will lose a lot of advertising money: either because they will lose readers who will read online their competitors or they lose advertising and subscription money offline because people will read more stuff online.

I can't see any other way for them to create a non-profit entity whose sole purpose will be to administer micro-payments split among it's members on the basis of actual usage - this is also ideal model for music indsutry where you pay $10 per month and listen all you like but then money get split depending on what you actually listening. Of course this would mean that some big established aggregators will die off, which is why this is very hard to achieve in the music industry, but one would think that it would be easier for newspapers.

jtara




msg:3454484
 2:37 am on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now Rupert is making noises about taking the Wall Street Journal website in the same direction.

weeks




msg:3454957
 2:49 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

the lord said the newspapers industry must..
...cooperate or they will lose a lot of advertising...

And, it's going to be the latter because they will not do the former. It's interesting to watch an industry be taken over from the established players. Remember that AT&T of olden days is gone--someone simply bought the brand. Likewise, the news industry, unless they get their act together.

There is some movement. Maybe not all is lost. But, I do worry about my young friends who are working journalists.

engine




msg:3455126
 5:14 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

For the record, here what News Corp says about WSJ

News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday sketched out early plans for Dow Jones & Co Inc, saying he leaned toward making the online Wall Street Journal free but had not yet made a decision.

Murdoch also projected about $100 million (49.6 million pounds) in cost savings, or double the amount earlier anticipated, saying he had identified "low-hanging fruit." His $5.6 billion purchase of the publisher of the Wall Street Journal is expected to close in about two months.

Murdoch makes case for free WSJ online
[uk.reuters.com]

Rugles




msg:3455129
 5:16 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would not worry about journalists. In the future some will be working for news websites that don't print a paper copy. The future is here in many cases. Look at the Huffinton Post, Drudge, TMZ, Worldnetdaily etc. These are the places that break news now.

Rugles




msg:3455135
 5:25 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Murdoch also projected about $100 million (49.6 million pounds) in cost savings

Hang on, they will save money by moving to the free model? <scatching my head>

That would indicate they have few subscribers and big overhead to administer.

Lord Majestic




msg:3455145
 5:32 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

big overhead to administer

Printing paper and distributing is not cheap: you also have to give away big margine to retailers.

Rugles




msg:3455151
 5:39 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

We are talking about 2 different things then. I thought the WSJ was going to stop require payment to read it online.

Demaestro




msg:3455165
 5:48 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Glad to see they finally caught on.

Fee for content is a bad business model and is why the first web bubble broke.

With a billion plus blogs and an billion plus online news agencies to choose from why someone would pay for content is beyond me.

I see many on here wishing that payment services will catch on... but these are the same people coming to this site for free advise. So if you aren't paying why expect others to?

I still think Marcus's mantra is best.... give it to them free... give it to them clean... get your viewer numbers up and then advertise.

Works for radio... works for TV... works for Marcus/Facebook/Myspace/Hi5/WebmasterWorld/YouTube

There are so many innovative ways to come up with revenue streams once you have an audience. A pay service just diminishes audience. Sure it is easy revenue at the start...but you have to give people value for dollar... and I am sorry but $8 a month to read what is being talked about all over is a rip off.... with a pay for service you are left to justify the fee to each user and as each user feels you have let them down on that mark then that is one less person you have giving you money and one more person that will most likely never come back.

We can do better. If you can't turn a 1000 unique viewers into $$ without charging them for content then you aren't trying.... or you are a dinosaur.

[edited by: Demaestro at 5:50 pm (utc) on Sep. 19, 2007]

victor




msg:3455182
 5:55 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

With a billion plus blogs and an billion plus online news agencies to choose from why someone would pay for content is beyond me.

Most of those billion are so far removed from the primary news gatherers and insightful news analysts that they are about as useful as a billion water cooler gossip sessions as a window to the world.

Remember this worked example from slashdot a couple of years ago?

Blogs are going to change the world. Example:

OLD, TIRED MEDIA: "The Associated Press reported that Saddam Hussein was captured yesterday by American forces."

NEW, EXCITING MEDIA: "omg like kos reported that he saw on chris's blog that john trackbacked to mike's journal where he read about bob's girlfriend's brother's cousin who was like watching Fox News (fair and balanced my ass! lol) and they said something about saddam i dunno current music: brittney cleary - im me current mood: corpulent"

Notice the synergy of information and the ease by which information propagates throughout the blogosphere.

It's even truer today.

Rugles




msg:3455238
 6:40 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Nobody is saying that the mainstream new media does not do the actual news gathering.

The issue is that 10 minutes after they break the news you can read it for free on a 1000 other sites.

So why pay?

Like I said earlier, I can read Maureen Dowd's column 2 days later for free. Why the heck would I sign up for Timesselect when I already cancelled my subscription to the hard copy.

Demaestro




msg:3455294
 7:37 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

victor I get what you are saying and your point is valid... just in the billion blog/unofficial news agencies... there are many that aren't

lol omg... like Saddam jus' got pwned

In fact as time goes on and people become more serious about their blogs some really good ones have popped up giving me all I need... sure I have to look a little harder..but all that means is maybe ten more clicks of my mouse and 5 extra minutes....

There are so many free-agent news reporters out there that don't even work for one paper....and they all have blogs.... my local news radio show has 5 reporters and they all have blogs and they are all professional and they are all current.... Oh and they are all free... and I live in a little community of about 1 million people.. I am sure in Bigger cities this is even more true...... I haven't heard of any that require my $$ though... and that isn't by accident.... the ones charging aren't on my radar.

weeks




msg:3455558
 1:59 am on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

A careful reader of the posts on WW may note there is sometimes, when they are bored, a casual interest among many of the more thoughtful independent web professionals in how their web sites are listed on the major search engines.

It was interesting to me that executives of The New York Times, which has a reputation as source of entertaining and compelling content in print and, one might assume, online (for example, it is by far the most popular newspaper web site in the world) would be surprised to discover that a great deal of traffic was to be had via....yes, search engines.

Perhaps the executives at The New York Times would learn something about the Internet if they often read the casual, thoughtful discussions from the independent webmasters of WW. That is my takeaway from the analysis I've seen.

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