Friday, January 22, 2010

New York Times to meter visitors and charge for content in 2011

The New York Times will start charging Internet visitors to view content on its website starting in January 2011, according to a report Jan. 20, 2010.

Visitors will have to register, and will have a certain free allotment per month, and then be charged on a metering system. Print subscribers (even only to the Sunday version) will be able to view the online content free.

It’s not known if other newspapers will follow suit. Wall Street Journal requires a paid subscription for some online articles. So do a few others like Newsday , the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and the Albuquerque Journal. Financial articles reporting on specific companies (as linked from Yahoo!) and “professional journals” in medicine and other fields typically require paid subscription now.

This could make it more difficult for bloggers to gather information from multiple sources if many newspapers do this. Furthermore visitors, if they clicked on links in blogs, could sometimes find that their viewing of content counted toward a monthly limit or led to a request for a credit card payment. On my own blogs, I have sometimes warned visitors if I know that specific linked content requires paid subscription.

Many newspapers charge for archived articles, but some have backed away from the practice in recent years.

The Los Angeles Times blog has a story about this here.

The basic news wire story is here. It was reported in print Thursday in the Washington Times.

The Times own story ("The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Web Site") from Richard Perez-Pena from Jan. 20 is here.

As to the use of a print sunscription to pay for unlimited access, I do have one issue: it is a bit of a security problem, for someone who lives alone, with newspapers likely to be visible at a residence when someone is not home. I wish the newspapers would consider that. Consider unlimited use online subscriptions, too.

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