The New York Times has finally announced the terms and pricing for its paywall that will go into effect beginning March 28. The paywall is porous, meaning that you’ll be able to read 20 articles a month without having to pay.
But once you click on that 21st article, you’ll have to pony up a new subscription fee for online viewing – $15 per month for access to the website and a mobile phone app, $20 for Web access and an iPad app, and $35 for an all-access subscription plan. If you’re a subscriber to the paper version (remember paper versions of newspapers?), this digital access will be included.
Even though the paywall will go into effect after reading 20 articles, you will still be able to access stories that have been shared via Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
Are People Willing to Pay for Digital News?
“A few years ago it was almost an article of faith that people would not pay for the content they accessed via the Web,” said The New York Times Company Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr., calling the move an “investment in our future.” The new revenue sources will help the newspaper maintain its “journalistic mission and digital innovation.”
Despite Sulzberger’s contention that people are now willing to pay for digital news, a recent Pew study found that few people do. Only 18% of respondents in its most recent survey indicated they’d be willing to pay $10 a month for online access to local news. The New York Times can’t really be described as a local newspaper, of course, but it remains to be seen if people are willing to pay $15 for a digital subscription.
Is $15 Too Much?
And as news hit this morning about the NYT paywall, many have balked at the $15 fee. Dave Winer wondered why there wasn’t something more offered to online subscribers. “Wouldn’t it have been wise to, at this juncture, offer something to sweeten the deal. Something truly exciting and new that you get when you pay the money. Something that makes your palms sweat and your heart beat faster?”
Currently, what’s offered – other than online access, of course – is the promise of helping the newspaper survive. Indeed, in its announcement of the paywall this morning, The New York Times says that, “the fragile condition of the industry has left newspapers with few other choices.” What choice will you make? Will you subscribe?
Disclosure: ReadWriteWeb and The New York Times are syndication partners.