NY Times launches subscriptions

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    Posted: 18 March 2011 07:04 PM

    Using Canada as a beta test region to work out the kinks, the TImes announced their digital subscription model yesterday. 

    Free if you subscribe to the hard copy.

    Top stories are always free.

    $5/week for the ipad app (billed monthly) for unlimited access.

    Otherwise 20 stories per month.

    http://www.nytimes.com/subscriptions/Multiproduct/lp0145.html

         
  • Posted: 18 March 2011 11:48 PM #1

    From Daring Fireball:

    Felix Simon:

    Beyond that, $15 per four-week period gives you access to the website and also its smartphone app, while $20 gives you access to the website also its iPad app. But if you want to read the NYT on both your smartphone and your iPad, you?ll need to buy both digital subscriptions separately, and pay an eye-popping $35 every four weeks. That?s $455 a year.

    The message being sent here is weird: that access to the website is worth nothing. Mathematically, if A+B=$15, A+C=$20, and A+B+C=$35, then A=$0.

    I just don?t get the pricing, and I find it hard to believe there are many people willing to pay $455/year for digital access to a newspaper, no matter how good the newspaper is.

         
  • Posted: 18 March 2011 11:55 PM #2

    I normally try to provide a taste of what the article is going to say, but in this case, the article is long and it pretty much has to be read in it’s entirety. I’ll give you all one hint: This look like it’s going to be a disaster for the NY Times. I would be stunned if this turkey didn’t crash and burn.

    The NYT paywall arrives by Felix Salmon

         
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    Posted: 19 March 2011 12:13 AM #3

    I could pay $ 455 under certain very strict circumstances.  But its rare for any media outlet to publish what I want to know.  I figure out what I can and let the chips fall where they may.  So, in practicality, I would find it hard to pay $ 50 a year for stuff I already know.

         
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    Posted: 19 March 2011 12:15 AM #4

    I had no idea the income from digital ads was as much as the article claims.  I had made a practice of not skipping ads, naively hoping that the ad income would lessen the need for greed in the subscription pricing. 

    But I’m afraid this is going to be a big mistake for them.  I read the iPad app pretty religiously, I’m sure I’ll hit 20 within a week. 

    Their pricing is just too high, i think they’re likely to lose more in lost ad revenue than they generate in sales.

         
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    Posted: 19 March 2011 12:48 AM #5

    Another iPad video magazine had 3 ads and I was only watching a few minutes.

    To sum up, I haven’t found the proper mix of good content, price and advertising.

         
  • Posted: 19 March 2011 01:59 AM #6

    My take on their new business model:  The NYT is staffed with better journalists than business people.  I’m going to miss it.

    I don’t mind paying for content at a reasonable price.  Let’s hope the NYT learns fast.

         
  • Posted: 19 March 2011 07:01 AM #7

    Don’t know why they don’t sell individual copies for the same price as the print edition. Paranoid about cannibalising any of their current revenues, I suppose.

         
  • Posted: 19 March 2011 07:48 AM #8

    sleepygeek - 19 March 2011 10:01 AM

    Don’t know why they don’t sell individual copies for the same price as the print edition. Paranoid about cannibalising any of their current revenues, I suppose.

    What current revenues? As in haven’t they fallen off a cliff since the web appeared?

    Basically what I don’t get is why the digital version is so high when you take out the printing and the distribution.

    They have this pricing all backwards. It’s currently cheaper to subscribe to the physical paper and throw it away. That just cannot be right.

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    Posted: 19 March 2011 11:57 AM #9

    More generally speaking:

    Most people have a fairly tight budget on what they are willing to pay per month for multi-media.  After investing in an iPad, bargain tho it may be, there is a limit.  Not only that, the amount of time that a person can spend reading on an iPad at a stretch is less than a good paperback.

    Conclusion:  Certain genres will attract my attention for paying and others not.

    Suppose I’m on the fence about the NY Times.  If I find an error and present my case to the Times.  Is there a prominent correction ?  In such situations, I can sense they have some integrity. 

    For people outside of the NY area, the paywall is something to drive around.  For NY Yorkers, it is a landmark.

    Content, convenience, price.  All apps will have to keep this in mind.

         
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    Posted: 19 March 2011 12:41 PM #10

    Well I bought the $39 yearly subscribtion to The Daily.

    I am very happy with it and I do read it every day.

         
  • Posted: 20 March 2011 11:39 AM #11

    omacvi - 19 March 2011 03:41 PM

    Well I bought the $39 yearly subscribtion to The Daily.

    I am very happy with it and I do read it every day.

    I’m thinking of doing the same thing.  The NYT just priced itself off my iPad

         
  • Posted: 20 March 2011 11:55 AM #12

    Mercel - 20 March 2011 02:39 PM
    omacvi - 19 March 2011 03:41 PM

    Well I bought the $39 yearly subscribtion to The Daily.

    I am very happy with it and I do read it every day.

    I’m thinking of doing the same thing.  The NYT just priced itself off my iPad

    I can’t see paying more for the NYT than the WSJ. Every year about a month after my on-line WSJ subscription expires they ask me to “please come back” for around $80 for a year ... what are they smoking at the NYT? If the NYT was a buck a week ... I’d likely spring for it even if I only read it once a week.

    “It will charge $15 per month for unlimited access to nytimes.com and a smartphone application; $20 for online access and an Apple iPad app; and $35 for online, smartphone and iPad.”

    $20 a month is $240 a year ... 3 x my WSJ subscription??!?!

    How about they charge $1 Billion a year and send out dedicated sales concierges to the richest 100 in the world ... seems to make as much sense.

    Murdoch is no dummy. He has lots of data from the WSJ about what people are willing to pay for electronic delivery and priced the Daily accordingly.

    I wonder how many of the “pricing gurus” on this one actually pay to consume content on-line? Oh, I forgot, they must have just hired the same geniuses that run the record companies and the major TV networks, neither of whom want to allow Apple to distribute content on a subscription basis at a reasonable price.

    [ Edited: 20 March 2011 12:01 PM by snoozzzer ]      
  • Posted: 20 March 2011 01:02 PM #13

    omacvi - 19 March 2011 03:41 PM

    Well I bought the $39 yearly subscribtion to The Daily.

    I am very happy with it and I do read it every day.

    I’m glad to hear it, but I think that both the NY Times and the Daily are going down the wrong path. They’re trying to duplicate newspapers on a tablet. That’s not the point of a tablet.

    The internet is a digital super market of content. It provides us with unlimited content and allows us to pick and choose the content that most interests us. But it’s messy. The normal person does not want to have to go to the super market each and every day and to pick out new content. They want things to be easy and convenient.

    The newspapers are like the old corner deli’s. They were local (there was one on every block) they were convenient, they were comfortable (we knew the owner and the content). But they were also very limited. They served a very set, very small choice of content.

    What the newspapers need to do is convert themselves from the corner deli to the convenience store. The convenience store sells the same things as the super market does, sometimes for twice the price, but we use them all the time. Why? They’re convenient. They’ve culled the things we must use, most crave, most need and put them all in one convenient place with quick service and checkout. The digital convenience store needs to allow us to customize what we want to read but the key is that it needs to be easy to do! Most people don’t want to work at reading the news. They just want to get it and go. For the Dailey or the NY Times to work, the keys are customizable content and convenience.

         
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    Posted: 20 March 2011 01:35 PM #14

    Exploring the App Store is a pain.  Not convenient.  Its hard to know what is garbage, so-so or good.  I’ll have to depend on reviews.

         
  • Posted: 20 March 2011 02:36 PM #15

    Tetrachloride - 20 March 2011 04:35 PM

    Exploring the App Store is a pain.  Not convenient.  Its hard to know what is garbage, so-so or good.  I’ll have to depend on reviews.

    Throughout all of history, the great question was finding content. The great library of Alexandria was one of the greatest collections of knowledge of its time. But it was just a drop in the bucket compared with all of the knowledge that flowered and was then lost every single day.

    Today, we have the opposite problem. All the knowledge of mankind is available to us - so much so that we don’t know how to organize and find it all. Google has been working at organizing content by category. FaceBook has been busy organizing content based on the preferences and biases of our chosen friends. Netflix and Pandora try to build algorithms that will compute what we’ll like based on what what we already like.

    The company that solves this problem will rule the computing world for at least the next ten years. But there’s no guarantee that anyone is going to be able to solve this equation anytime too soon. In the sixties, seventies and eighties we believed that the more we knew about the weather, the more accurately we would be able to predict it. But that didn’t happen. Then chaos theory came in to explain why the flapping of a butterfy’s wings in Asia might cause hurricanes in Omaha. Chaos rules. Some things are just too complex to be predicted. Perhaps the problem of predicting what we prefer and what we will like it too complex to ever be solved.

    Or perhaps not.