The New York Times Sugar Coats Its Paywall
The New York Times imposed its paywall on reader throughout the world, and if the flurry of effort to evade it means anything, the subscription fees should be a smash hit.
Numerous tech news sites and blogs are devoting a lot of attention to the ways around the tollgate. The Business Insider had a good summary of the stratagems in an article, "7 More Ways To Smash Through The New York Times Paywall".
But all this game playing is a little premature since the newspaper set a deep discount on all its subscription plans, practically begging readers for 99 cents for the first month, in contrast to the $15-to-$35 monthly fees announced. It seems that a number of people, including me, were surprised at this introductory offer, for example: "The New York Times offering discounted digital subscriptions as part of today’s paywall launch" and "New York Times Drops Paywall Subscriptions to $0.99... For Now".
Kristin Mason at the Times Company pointed out that introductory discounts were mentioned in the original announcement of the details, though not the steepness of this, and she said other offers could be expected in the future.
The Times started the paywall in Canada a week ago to test the mechanics — also with a 99-cent deal. Mason said the company has not yet reported numbers on paying subscribers.
But the Times will eventually counter all of these moves, the same way virus writers are countered by security firms in an endless spiral of cleverness. These are really besides the point. If readers value the paper, they ought to pay. The question is really what it's worth.Continued on the next page