Posted by: jdantos | January 3, 2006

New York Times Select

Something about this premium service on nytimes.com makes me uneasy. Although I love Boston, the Times just beats out the Boston Globe as a national and international newspaper. So as a subscriber to the Times, I think it’s a fantastic service – access to archives, personal clip file, extra editions, etc. I use its Trackers every day. As a pragmatist, I totally understand why the Times, a rational self-interested business, should do this – since they put their entire content out on the web freely, they’re probably forgoing gobs of money for people who might otherwise pay for it.

But as an internet user since the days of telnets and fingers and still in possession of some vestiges of a frontier mentality, I kinda wish it was free. I don’t even know how to justify my wish, it’s just a feeling, really. I can’t quite think it through. I also wonder if the Times might lose its “gold standard” status on the online world if it decided to make more of its services premium while its competitors did not. Do they need to keep everything free to keep their market share? Or will the quality of their reporting degrade if they continue to shed paying subscribers? Or should they simply rely more on banner ads and the like? How important are physical paper subscribers to their revenues?

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Responses

  1. Losing its meaning…
    I am holding out for NYTimes to realize their mistake. I am not a subscriber to the paper edition, because it is both too expensive out here in LA, and because the online medium is a superior method for me to intake my news.
    If the NYTimes was further customizable for subscribers, and priced at a point which reflects the relative difference in overhead from Publishing Paper to Publishing electrons, I might be convinced.
    The insightful and reasoned Op/Ed of NYTimes is sorely missed not only from my own reading, but also from the ongoing dialogs in which I participant and/or lurk. In that way I think NYTimes has reduced its intellectual footprint on current events.
    I am hoping that the powerful (and ego-driven) voices at the Times Op/Ed will eventually notice that their public profile is reduced, and will struggle against the new system.


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