The New York Times discovers how free pays!

I was listening to George Hook, Karlin Lillington and Simon McGarr on The Right Hook yesterday discussing newspapers’ online business models.

They referred to the New York Times and how it charged for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives (what it perceived as premium content).

Overnight the New York Times abandoned this model in favour of free access to all its content.

Mark Evans has looked at the numbers and shows how free could make financial sense:

TimesSelect was an pretty interesting experiment that attracted about 227,000 subscribers and $10-million in annual revenue. But the growth clearly wasn’t there to justify the status quo…

Let’s assume, about 20% of the NYT’s content was behind the walled garden. Now that it’s free, the NYT could added another 2.6 million unique visitors. Let’s assume, the average online NYT reader consumes a healthy 20 pages/month. This would give us 52 million more page views a month.

If you can generate $20/CPM per Web page from these additional page views, that’s $1-million of revenue per month or about $12-million a year

Anyone want to put a bet on how long before the Irish Times changes its model to entirely free? This lifetime? The next lifetime? Not in a million years?

Irish Times subscription page

9 thoughts on “The New York Times discovers how free pays!”

  1. Irish Times – Not in a million years.

    Thats one newspaper I’d love to see online and would actively read. Trialed their digital edition for the 3 days they give you, really enjoyed it.

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  3. Actually, they only made articles back to 1987, and before 1922, free. Still pretty impressive, but not quite EVERYTHING.

    I suspect the Irish Times has less incentive to do something like this; it just doesn’t have the same sort of exposure the NYT does, and can’t make vaguely as much on advertising.

  4. I thought I read a few months back that the IT was going free. I haven’t looked at it for a while so I was surprised to see they’re still charging. They must be one of the only “quality” news papers in the English speaking world that still charges. Maybe they like the idea of being exclusive! Considering they were one of the pioneers in online newspapers, they have really fallen behind. Their layout is quite dated, they have no blogs etc. (or are allthese thing to be found once you pay up?

  5. some day they might, i remember when it used to be free about 5 years ago. while at university it was free online for all students at ul and could be accessed anywhere on campus, which was extremely handy.

    missed it since i finished college, hopefully they will consider a free option or revise the their model. i would also like them to start doing podcasts similar to david pogues of the nytimes.

    i’ve often considered paying the €70 subscription, but have always backed out. i decided that i spend enough time on my computer and reading the paper edition instead would be a nice break.

  6. The business models our parents worshiped don’t work because they were fundementially flawed to begin with but it wasn’t until they were scaled up that the flaws became obvious. Now it is up to us and future generations to find new models that do work and are good for everybody. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

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