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New York Times starts subscriptions for web, iPads [U]

updated 11:15 am EDT, Thu March 17, 2011

New York Times makes subscription plans official

(Updated with iTunes app changes) The New York Times on Thursday outlined its long referenced plans to put up a paywall and start offering subscriptions. Everyone will get their first 20 articles per month for free, but further reading will need a monthly subscription. A $15 per month plan offers full web access as well as a smartphone app; $20 per month swaps out the phone for the iPad, and an unusually steep hike to $35 is required to get both phone and iPad use.

Everyone who subscribes to the physical newspaper gets unlimited access to the digital version, except on e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. That will improve in the future, the NYT said.

It will also implement in-app subscription as an option to fit in with Apple's current App Store subscription policies. Without changes to the app, Apple would theoretically ban the NYT offer from the iPhone and iPad. Subscriptions in native apps have to also have an iTunes equivalent, and Apple doesn't have a subscription mechanism that would allow its downloads as free bonuses for print.

Subscriptions take effect on March 28.

The approach is a very different one to that of News Corp. Its head, Rupert Murdoch, has often been hostile to any free, ad-supported web content and has often put up much stricter paywalls that only let users read some articles for free or only under certain conditions. His major iPad-first project, The Daily, will allow free access in certain web conditions but is pay-only in the native iPad app.

New York Times Company chair Arthur Sulzberger argued that free access was still needed to have a wide, casual readership. He only wanted to charge those who got the most value out of the articles and were more likely to see it as worth the added expense.

"The challenge now is to put a price on our work without walling ourselves off from the global network," he said in an interview with his own paper, taking a direct shot at News Corp's more isolationist policies.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. droz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009

    0

    oh great....

    I've been waiting for another internet pay-based news source. Seriously, how do people like NYT and Rupert Murdoch expect people to pay for something they can get quite well for free?

  1. badcowboy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2011

    +7

    Pricey

    I would be willing to pay $9.95/month for access, but when using the app on the ipad and iphone, $35 is way too much.

  1. badcowboy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2011

    0

    Pricey

    I would be willing to pay $9.95/month for access, but when using the app on the ipad and iphone, $35 is way too much.

  1. scottshu@scottshu.com

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    +3

    Frustrating

    I love the Times and am happy to pay for it, but why am I paying multiple surcharges for different devices? Doesn't make sense. In fact, the base prices includes the most content of all. The web has interactive flash presentations (which are very well-produced) that can't play on iOS devices. Why would I then pay a surcharge to view less content on a mobile device? This smells of design by committee to me. The produce is the product: establish a simple pricing model and run with it.

  1. cmoney

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2000

    +4

    Apple surcharge?

    You can get the cheapest home delivery option for $3.10/week and get unlimited access to all the apps on all the platforms for a total of $161.20. Or you can subscribe via app for the low price of 180 (iPhone), 240 (iPad), or 420 (both).

    I wonder if Apple will let this shot across the bow go unanswered.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: Frustrating

    I love the Times and am happy to pay for it, but why am I paying multiple surcharges for different devices? Doesn't make sense.

    One is for a small-screen device. You pay more for access on the larger screen, which most likely has more features/capabilities.

    Hey, I wonder if the app will let you do the crossword?

    In fact, the base prices includes the most content of all. The web has interactive flash presentations (which are very well-produced) that can't play on iOS devices. Why would I then pay a surcharge to view less content on a mobile device?

    Who says it would be less? Just because it's flash on the web doesn't mean they can't do a version for the iOS.

    And the paper you get through the app is the entire paper, which would/should be in newspaper form. Where the web gives you 5 pages to click through to read a story, trying to navigate to where you want to go, etc. Plus the parts that aren't there. Plus all the ad banners and such (though one would hope those would decrease on the page version).

  1. cmoney

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2000

    +2

    Prices

    Oops, that $3.10/week rate is an intro rate for the first 12 weeks. Still, it's $285.20 for the year for full access on the iPad, iPhone and a print copy.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999

    +3

    Buh Bye

    Oh well, slightly sad to see it go, but fortunately the Times is far from irreplaceable. TBH, I find their coverage of most topics to be a crapshoot; sometimes they'll do a great job, often they'll take a completely non-humanist stance on something, especially international politics-related, and they just piss me off. Certainly not something I would ever consider paying for given the often better coverage I can get from alternative sources for free. The Times is OK, but it's no Economist, or even CSM; it's about at LA Times' level, and that one's still free.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: oh great....

    I've been waiting for another internet pay-based news source. Seriously, how do people like NYT and Rupert Murdoch expect people to pay for something they can get quite well for free?

    Because these companies actually see their publications as being worthy of being paid for. And they're betting that they're leading the charge, so to speak, of more publications starting to charge for their content again.

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