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Discussion Starter #1
Did anyone else get this lovely notice from NYTimes this morning?
This week marks a significant transition for The New York Times as we introduce digital subscriptions. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform. The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications.

This change comes in two stages. On Thursday, we rolled out digital subscriptions to our readers in Canada, which will enable us to fine-tune the customer experience before our global launch. On March 28, we will begin offering digital subscriptions in the United States and the rest of the world.

If you are a home delivery subscriber of The New York Times, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion and the rest of our rich offerings on your computer, smartphone and tablet. International Herald Tribune subscribers will also receive free access to NYTimes.com.

If you are not a home delivery subscriber, you will have free access up to a defined reading limit. If you exceed that limit, you will be asked to become a digital subscriber.

This is how it will work, and what it means for you:

• On NYTimes.com, you can view 20 articles each month at no charge (including slide shows, videos and other features). After 20 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.

• On our smartphone and tablet apps, the Top News section will remain free of charge. For access to all other sections within the apps, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.

• The Times is offering three digital subscription packages that allow you to choose from a variety of devices (computer, smartphone, tablet). More information about these plans is available at www.nytimes.com/access.

• Again, all New York Times home delivery subscribers will receive free access to NYTimes.com and to all content on our apps. If you are a home delivery subscriber, go to http://homedelivery.nytimes.com to sign up for free access.

• Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.

• The home page at NYTimes.com and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all users at all times.

For more information, go to www.nytimes.com/digitalfaq.

Thank you for reading The New York Times, in all its forms.

Sincerely,

ARTHUR OCHS SULZBERGER Jr.

Publisher, The New York Times
I like the part that essentially says, "We're going to try this out on America Jr., and see how it goes; if those stereotypically nice Canadians tell us to do some damage to ourselves, we'll do some "fine-tuning"".
Raise your hand if you plan on paying $35/month to access more than 20 NYTimes.com articles per month, plus using their iPad and iPhone apps.
Yeah - me neither.

What's the plan here? Do they really think they're going to get substantial buy-in at that price? Instead of going for a few thousand subscribers at $35/month, why not go for a million or so at $5/month?

With everyone accustomed to the current price of "free" per month, you have to make it feel as close to that as possible if you're going after dollars. $5/month, I think for a second, then buy. At $35/month, I don't even think. It's just an instant "NO!"
 

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Will Miss It

I read it every day - probably the best paper on the planet.

No way I am paying anything close to that - $5 month would be possible.
 

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I read the Times, the UK Times that is, which is behind a paywall. I don't have a lot of interest in the NY Times but in the event of there being a really interesting article once in a while it seems it will still be free.
 

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Does seem a bit steep.

Though I get the Sunday edition delivered, and that's good enough for it to let me sign up for free. Even though I'm only paying CAN$27.08+HST a month. So there's a way to get it cheaper ... and get something solid to read. I don't know if you can just get a Saturday edition delivered - that might be cheaper yet!
 

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I think they're scared of losing their print subscribers to digital if the price is too cheap. Regular daily delivery is around $40 a month. Having a digital plan for $5 a month would have these print subscribers reconsidering their options. Of course I think this is short-sighted as they've managed to hold on to these customers up until now while offering their website content for free.
 

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Newsprint and delivery are expensive. They could probably provide an electronic subscription for about 1/2 the price and still make money. OTOH, why do that when there are suckers to be had?
 

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Nice little rant at http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110317/13002813531/open-letter-canadian-to-new-york-times-eh.shtml I especially like:

Your plan makes perfect sense. The average Canadian starts his day chopping down trees and ends it with igloo sex (which is awesome, by the way) so we don't need something to be "smooth" and "fine-tuned" unless it's an axe or a Chippewa concubine. So by all means use us as your whetstone before you go hacking away at the American market - we don't mind in the slightest. New York is still basically a mythical place to us, so every article you publish is like a dispatch from Oz, and who wouldn't want to pay for that?
 

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I got the email today along with this paragraph:
As a loyal reader of NYTimes.com, you will receive a special offer to save on our new digital subscriptions. We will e-mail this special offer starting on March 28, the day we begin charging for unlimited access to our Web site and mobile apps*. We truly value your readership and look forward to bringing you the world’s finest journalism every day
I'm not sure if everyone with a used-id is getting this or not. I registered many years ago when some content required registration, although I seldom read NYTimes now.
 

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I got this yesterday:

Starting March 28, The New York Times will begin charging for unlimited access to NYTimes.com and our NYTimes apps — but, as a Times Reader subscriber, you will get unlimited access* to NYTimes.com and the NYTimes app for iPad® included in your subscription.

To continue to enjoy free, unlimited access, all you have to do is log in to NYTimes.com or the NYTimes app for iPad with your current Times Reader user name and password.
I have *no* idea what this actually means in terms of what they want to charge.
 

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If you are a home delivery subscriber of The New York Times, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion and the rest of our rich offerings on your computer, smartphone and tablet.
So New York Times online is still free if you buy the print edition.

On NYTimes.com, you can view 20 articles each month at no charge (including slide shows, videos and other features). After 20 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.
That's actually more generous than I thought they would do.

Raise your hand if you plan on paying $35/month
Unlimited access to NYTimes.com and the NYTimes smartphone app is $15 every four weeks.



Personally, I think $15 a month for what many consider the finest newspaper around is not unreasonable. The $35 is if you want it on tablet, smartphone and computer.
 

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I'm surprised that the additional cost to get NY Times via a tablet app is so high, over double the cost. Why not use the browser version from your tablet?

I'm not sure if I'm typical or not, but my access pattern for general news it to go to Google News and then drill down to whatever articles show up on the topic in question. I think there is an option in Google News (although I haven't checked recently) to not show content that is behind a pay wall, and the NY Times would risk losing traffic from Google News if this move would put them in that category.

Of course, the free website may not be working for them since they're having financial problems.
 

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MY guess is you'll be fine until you hit the 21st article.

Wonder how they will measure it. Will you have to be a registered member. If not, you could go well beyond 20 articles with multiple computers and/or multiple logins and/or deleting your cookies.
 

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I'm surprised that the additional cost to get NY Times via a tablet app is so high, over double the cost. Why not use the browser version from your tablet?
This is the case with other subs like the Wall Street Journal. I think they are trying to get more money for an iPad app since it generally allows you to download for offline readings so it has more value than a web subscription, at least as far as the publication is concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
hugh said:
Personally, I think $15 a month for what many consider the finest newspaper around is not unreasonable. The $35 is if you want it on tablet, smartphone and computer.
I don't disagree that $15/mo. is unreasonable; however, if your goal is to make money, I don't think it's realistic when your (desired) subscriber base has had a few years of $0/month.

But $35/mo. is unreasonable to me. Sometimes, I'm on my iPad, sometimes I just have my phone, and other times, I'm reading stories off their website. Give me all of that for $10-$15/mo. and I'm thinking about it. At $35, it's a non-starter. And $15 for crippled access (i.e., no iPad) - the same.
 

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At $35, it's a non-starter. And $15 for crippled access (i.e., no iPad) - the same.
I don't think it will be a crippled version - I am quite sure that you will be able to use your iPad web browser with an online subscription.

I have an online sub to the WSJ and their subs work the same way - you pay about twice as much for an iPad sub vs an online sub. I believe the main advantage to the iPad sub is that it allows you to download the day's edition for offline reading.
 

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Still beating the horse of print for profits that won't be there.

They have the brand, the bureaus and the reporters - why not hire a few good radio anchors (six for the daytime in two hour blocks and two for six hour blocks overnight) to interview and package their stories for radioplay and start up "The Times" all news station for XMto tap into those subscriber fees and sell the channel ala cart via the website?
 

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NY Times pay-wall workarounds

I was listening to CBC radio1 on the way home, and apparently there are already a couple workarounds that have been made public for the NY Times new pay-wall.

One of them is a Twitter feed that publishes links to all of the stories, because links from Twitter do not count towards your 20 article limit.

The other one was a bit vague on account of the reporters not being very tech savvy, but it sounded like somebody made a browser plug-in that would mask whatever they are using to track your article count.
 

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Just block Javascript from the site in your favourite blocking application (i.e., Ad Block Pro or NoScript). I hit the 20 article limit on the first day of this stupidity. A quick tweak of my filters and I haven't had a problem since.
 
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