Did you see the recent news release by management of The New York Times announcing the paper will begin to charge for its online content beginning in 2011. Here is the official release:
The New York Times Announces Plans for a Metered Model for NYTimes.com in 2011
NEW YORK, Jan 20, 2010 -- The New York Times announced that it will be introducing a paid model for NYTimes.com at the beginning of 2011.
The new approach, referred to as the metered model, will offer users free access to a set number of articles per month and then charge users once they exceed that number. This will enable NYTimes.com to create a second revenue stream and preserve its robust advertising business. It will also provide the necessary flexibility to keep an appropriate ratio between free and paid content and stay connected to a search-driven Web.
Through 2010, NYTimes.com will be building a new online infrastructure designed to provide consumers with a frictionless experience across multiple platforms. Once the metered model is implemented, New York Times home delivery print subscribers will continue to have free access to NYTimes.com.
"Our new business model is designed to provide additional support for The New York Times' extraordinary, professional journalism," said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times. "Our audiences are very loyal and we believe that our readers will pay for our award-winning digital content and services."
"This process of rethinking our business model has also been driven by our desire to achieve additional revenue diversity that will make us less susceptible to the inevitable economic cycles," said Janet L. Robinson, president and CEO, The New York Times Company. "We were also guided by the fact that our news and information are being featured in an increasingly broad range of end-user devices and services, and our pricing plans and policies must reflect this vision."
More details regarding the metered model will be available in the coming months.
This will be the shape of things to come for all newspapers looking to increase subscriptions/home delivery while maximizing their revenue via online. The question will come when the number of visitors to the site plummets and advertisers are left with high fees but very few eyeballs.