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It’s official! And kind of expensive! Here are the details of The New York Times’ new stab at a paywall

It’s coming up! The New York Times’ long-awaited paywall — whose existence was first announced last January, and whose details have been speculated about ever since — is set to rise on March 28.

So where does the TimesWall rank, on a scale of Picket Fence to Mighty Fortress? Somewhere in the middle: The wall will, as promised, allow for free access to the Times’ homepage as well as free side-door access (via outside links, etc.) to individual Times articles. In the metered-model manner of the Financial Times, you can gaze and graze freely each month until you hit (in the Times’ case) 20 articles. After which: Wall up. Pay up. (Or — maybe? — just hit up The Huffington Post.)

The Times has divided its payment offering into different (and more expensive than many had expected) packages: $15 for a month (actually, more specifically, for four weeks) of access to NYTimes.com and the paper’s smartphone app; $20 for web access and an iPad app; and $35 for an all-access plan. Multiply each of those by 13 to account for the 52 weeks in a year…and the yearly rates get hefty quickly. (Print subscribers, as the Times has said from the get-go, will get digital access included in their subscriptions. That’s true for any subscriber, 7-day-a-week or less — a nice reward for brand loyalty (not to mention a brand new selling point for the next Weekender commercial).)

As for the “pores” in the paywall: They’re there, but they’re not as large as we’d initially thought. While the paper “will allow access to people who visit through search engines like Google and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter,” the Times notes — meaning that, if I link to a Times article, and you click the link, you can view it in its entirety — there’s a big caveat: The articles you can access via Google will be limited to five a day. Which has significant implications not only for news consumers in a networked environment, but also for news producers.

None of those details are surprising. (Other than the prices, which, wow.) In fact, they are — in their general attempt to balance loyal consumers with casual, subscription revenue with ad, open web with walled garden — about what we’ve been expecting since “the metered model” became the Times’ official strategy last January. But it’s nice to know the details so we media-watchers can move our collective obsession from the paywall’s launch date to the much more important aspect of it: its data. Do people care enough about the Times, as a brand, to pay for content that they can generally get somewhere else? Given the myriad side-door options for article entry, do they care enough about convenience to pay a premium for a friction-free news experience? Are you going to subscribe? (Let us know in the comments.)

It’ll be interesting to see how users react to a suddenly-not-free New York Times — because, of course, the paper’s paywall isn’t just a meter but a metaphor. As Times opinionator Robert Wright put it in a column discussing the just-announced model last year: “Salvation (for Newspapers) Is at Hand.” So: Will the wall bring salvation for a biz-model-challenged paper — and, by extension, industry? Or will it go the way of TimesSelect, sacrificing traffic and and revenue and prestige in the process?

The answer will come, as in so many other aspects of contemporary journalism, from the readers. For today, though, the details are big news — about as big as you can get in our little corner of the world — and we’ll have more coverage of them coming up later today. Meanwhile, as you ponder whether to hand over your credit card to the Times’ jaunty hat-tipper, here are some of our past takes on the TimesWall and its consequences:

Jason Fry’s analysis of how the Times of London’s pay model differs from The New York Times

Five tips of charging for content from WSJ.com editor Alan Murray

The Dallas Morning News’ publisher Jim Moroney on his paper’s just-erected paywall

Jonathan Stray’s game of Paywall!, a to-fence-or-not-to-fence decision-maker

Ken Doctor on the decline of the 80/20 rule in newspapers

A roundup of expert opinions on whether the Times’ metered model will work

                                   
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Joseph Lichterman    April 21, 2014
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  • Anonymous

    Wow. I’m an avid reader and had thought deeply about this, determining $12 a month was the upper bound of what I could possibly justify for web access alone. This is throwing a big metal wrench in my plan to do what it takes to support a paper I love.

  • http://theartfulamoeba.com Jennifer Frazer

    I have no problem with the structure and I’m all for them charging for content — writers and newspapers need pay to survive. But the prices seems foolishly high to me. If they want subscribers, I think they should have gone no higher than $10 per month for the basic plan. I’m a regular times reader and I was all ready to pay up. But at $15 a month? I’m thinking twice. I think they’d make more bank long term with more subscribers (and more reach) at a lower price.

    I should note, however, that the nytimes.com/access page touts a special offer for those who come back on March 28. Perhaps long-time loyalists will get a long-term special deal.

  • http://theartfulamoeba.com Jennifer Frazer

    I have no problem with the structure and I’m all for them charging for content — writers and newspapers need pay to survive. But the prices seems foolishly high to me. If they want subscribers, I think they should have gone no higher than $10 per month for the basic plan. I’m a regular times reader and I was all ready to pay up. But at $15 a month? I’m thinking twice. I think they’d make more bank long term with more subscribers (and more reach) at a lower price.

    I should note, however, that the nytimes.com/access page touts a special offer for those who come back on March 28. Perhaps long-time loyalists will get a long-term special deal.

  • http://theartfulamoeba.com Jennifer Frazer

    I have no problem with the structure and I’m all for them charging for content — writers and newspapers need pay to survive. But the prices seems foolishly high to me. If they want subscribers, I think they should have gone no higher than $10 per month for the basic plan. I’m a regular times reader and I was all ready to pay up. But at $15 a month? I’m thinking twice. I think they’d make more bank long term with more subscribers (and more reach) at a lower price.

    I should note, however, that the nytimes.com/access page touts a special offer for those who come back on March 28. Perhaps long-time loyalists will get a long-term special deal.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I’m an avid reader and had thought deeply about this, determining $12 a month was the upper bound of what I could possibly justify for web access alone. This is throwing a big metal wrench in my plan to do what it takes to support a paper I love.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I’m an avid reader and had thought deeply about this, determining $12 a month was the upper bound of what I could possibly justify for web access alone. This is throwing a big metal wrench in my plan to do what it takes to support a paper I love.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to have to analyze my reading of the Times now and figure out how much of the newspaper I read, how often, and in what format. And then I’ll make a decision. I don’t disagree with their need to charge for content. But the fees do seem high to me.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to have to analyze my reading of the Times now and figure out how much of the newspaper I read, how often, and in what format. And then I’ll make a decision. I don’t disagree with their need to charge for content. But the fees do seem high to me.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to have to analyze my reading of the Times now and figure out how much of the newspaper I read, how often, and in what format. And then I’ll make a decision. I don’t disagree with their need to charge for content. But the fees do seem high to me.

  • Jen

    $15/month! Holy Cow! There’s no way I’m going to pay $180 per year for the service, even though they are practically my only source of news. My budget is way too tight to fork out that much cash for content that, although head and shoulders above the competition, is available for free elsewhere.

  • JJ Olsen

    I am going to figure out how to circumvent their paywall restrictions through proxies or something.

  • Steve Henn

    How did you come up with $12 a month?

  • Steve Henn

    How did you come up with $12 a month?

  • Steve Henn

    How did you come up with $12 a month?

  • Guest

    It’s a tough call. I want to support a product I value highly — whose quality I don’t think is available elsewhere — but the price is steep. I’m curious why there’s no Kindle subscription + digital access package though. That’s an option I would seriously consider paying for.

  • Anonymous

    It came out of my personal budgeting, not from any kind of calculation about the value of NYT’s content.

  • http://twitter.com/AmazinAlison Alison

    Not likely – I don’t think I’d get my monies worth as I already visit variety of sites for content and if I reach my max at the Times I’ll go elsewhere. I can generally find thoughtful and current content/commentary at the CSMonitor or WSJ or The Guardian online, so the NYT is not my only option.

  • http://www.mediastrut.com J Danielle

    This is a tough one. I was planning to blog my opinion on the price and whether or not I’d pay, but I’m undecided. I wasn’t expected the pay wall to be “quite” this pricy to get over. I have to ask myself if NY Times provides content that is not only of high quality but also timely enough to justify having access to it right away rather than later on when people inevitably post it elsewhere. In fact, last time they put up a pay wall, I was getting the bulk of articles that I’d have read anyway from truthout.org.

    That being said, The washington post used to be my favorite paper. But the editorial quality has dropped considerably–they are blogifying the paper way too much. The NY Times on the other hand has remained pretty steady. My only real complaint is the paper has no “kick…” no edge…and the editorial page simply isn’t thrilling anymore. If Bob Herbert leaves like Frank Rich has, I probably wouldn’t bother with the the ed page at all.

    This is a long way of saying I’m totally undecided about paying.

  • http://www.mediastrut.com J Danielle

    This is a tough one. I was planning to blog my opinion on the price and whether or not I’d pay, but I’m undecided. I wasn’t expected the pay wall to be “quite” this pricy to get over. I have to ask myself if NY Times provides content that is not only of high quality but also timely enough to justify having access to it right away rather than later on when people inevitably post it elsewhere. In fact, last time they put up a pay wall, I was getting the bulk of articles that I’d have read anyway from truthout.org.

    That being said, The washington post used to be my favorite paper. But the editorial quality has dropped considerably–they are blogifying the paper way too much. The NY Times on the other hand has remained pretty steady. My only real complaint is the paper has no “kick…” no edge…and the editorial page simply isn’t thrilling anymore. If Bob Herbert leaves like Frank Rich has, I probably wouldn’t bother with the the ed page at all.

    This is a long way of saying I’m totally undecided about paying.

  • http://www.mediastrut.com J Danielle

    This is a tough one. I was planning to blog my opinion on the price and whether or not I’d pay, but I’m undecided. I wasn’t expected the pay wall to be “quite” this pricy to get over. I have to ask myself if NY Times provides content that is not only of high quality but also timely enough to justify having access to it right away rather than later on when people inevitably post it elsewhere. In fact, last time they put up a pay wall, I was getting the bulk of articles that I’d have read anyway from truthout.org.

    That being said, The washington post used to be my favorite paper. But the editorial quality has dropped considerably–they are blogifying the paper way too much. The NY Times on the other hand has remained pretty steady. My only real complaint is the paper has no “kick…” no edge…and the editorial page simply isn’t thrilling anymore. If Bob Herbert leaves like Frank Rich has, I probably wouldn’t bother with the the ed page at all.

    This is a long way of saying I’m totally undecided about paying.

  • http://www.mediastrut.com J Danielle

    This is a tough one. I was planning to blog my opinion on the price and whether or not I’d pay, but I’m undecided. I wasn’t expected the pay wall to be “quite” this pricy to get over. I have to ask myself if NY Times provides content that is not only of high quality but also timely enough to justify having access to it right away rather than later on when people inevitably post it elsewhere. In fact, last time they put up a pay wall, I was getting the bulk of articles that I’d have read anyway from truthout.org.

    That being said, The washington post used to be my favorite paper. But the editorial quality has dropped considerably–they are blogifying the paper way too much. The NY Times on the other hand has remained pretty steady. My only real complaint is the paper has no “kick…” no edge…and the editorial page simply isn’t thrilling anymore. If Bob Herbert leaves like Frank Rich has, I probably wouldn’t bother with the the ed page at all.

    This is a long way of saying I’m totally undecided about paying.

  • http://www.mediastrut.com J Danielle

    This is a tough one. I was planning to blog my opinion on the price and whether or not I’d pay, but I’m undecided. I wasn’t expected the pay wall to be “quite” this pricy to get over. I have to ask myself if NY Times provides content that is not only of high quality but also timely enough to justify having access to it right away rather than later on when people inevitably post it elsewhere. In fact, last time they put up a pay wall, I was getting the bulk of articles that I’d have read anyway from truthout.org.

    That being said, The washington post used to be my favorite paper. But the editorial quality has dropped considerably–they are blogifying the paper way too much. The NY Times on the other hand has remained pretty steady. My only real complaint is the paper has no “kick…” no edge…and the editorial page simply isn’t thrilling anymore. If Bob Herbert leaves like Frank Rich has, I probably wouldn’t bother with the the ed page at all.

    This is a long way of saying I’m totally undecided about paying.

  • http://www.mediastrut.com J Danielle

    This is a tough one. I was planning to blog my opinion on the price and whether or not I’d pay, but I’m undecided. I wasn’t expected the pay wall to be “quite” this pricy to get over. I have to ask myself if NY Times provides content that is not only of high quality but also timely enough to justify having access to it right away rather than later on when people inevitably post it elsewhere. In fact, last time they put up a pay wall, I was getting the bulk of articles that I’d have read anyway from truthout.org.

    That being said, The washington post used to be my favorite paper. But the editorial quality has dropped considerably–they are blogifying the paper way too much. The NY Times on the other hand has remained pretty steady. My only real complaint is the paper has no “kick…” no edge…and the editorial page simply isn’t thrilling anymore. If Bob Herbert leaves like Frank Rich has, I probably wouldn’t bother with the the ed page at all.

    This is a long way of saying I’m totally undecided about paying.

  • http://www.mediastrut.com J Danielle

    This is a tough one. I was planning to blog my opinion on the price and whether or not I’d pay, but I’m undecided. I wasn’t expected the pay wall to be “quite” this pricy to get over. I have to ask myself if NY Times provides content that is not only of high quality but also timely enough to justify having access to it right away rather than later on when people inevitably post it elsewhere. In fact, last time they put up a pay wall, I was getting the bulk of articles that I’d have read anyway from truthout.org.

    That being said, The washington post used to be my favorite paper. But the editorial quality has dropped considerably–they are blogifying the paper way too much. The NY Times on the other hand has remained pretty steady. My only real complaint is the paper has no “kick…” no edge…and the editorial page simply isn’t thrilling anymore. If Bob Herbert leaves like Frank Rich has, I probably wouldn’t bother with the the ed page at all.

    This is a long way of saying I’m totally undecided about paying.

  • Elías du Halde

    The New York Times en un paywall típico “käna pengar mentalitet” this is a swedish.,.,

  • http://www.facebook.com/CulturalEngineer Tom Crowl

    I wish them good luck with their efforts!

    With an added caveat and pragmatic suggestion:

    The sustainability of many essential “Commons-oriented” enterprises have been sorely strained by the implications of technology… (news and politics being two of particular interest).

    While this new model may have some partial success, I’m skeptical of its ability to address the needs of a transaction that actually precedes the creation of money itself.

    This doesn’t suggest the obsolescence of money… but rather that transactions is certain areas must be… in a sense… liberated. (i.e. simplified in execution and reduced in cost; especially including the ‘micro-transaction’ in speech, politics and other specialized areas.

    The Commons-dedicated Account & Network

    Patent #7,870,067 just granted by USPTO 01/11/’11

    A neutral network of accounts for political, charitable and speech related monetary participation… which in order to properly network and scale individual capability must allow a viable, one-button, secure and financially unburdened micro-transaction. Such a network ideally should maintain its own cloud and bank. Accounts may be created and/or maintained with zero balances and/or only momentary balances during a pass-through transfer (monetization model requires no burden on the actual transaction.)

    From user’s perspective it’s similar to Facebook credits or X-box points except for Commons-oriented functions instead of games, etc. …and most critically NOT adding to or drawing from transaction costs.

    Demo and FAQ http://www.Chagora.com
    LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/culturalengineer
    Civilization Systems Blog http://CulturalEngineer.blogspot.com

    Regarding its potential in politics, especially for networked citizen lobbying and as an ESSENTIAL tool for citizens participation:

    Addressing Two Problems:

    1. Simplifying the process: “…[campaign contribution] could become much easier if campaigns can figure out how to allow people to donate by making the process easier through one click pay methods and a short form for the additional FEC information required.” – Katie Harbath, chief digital strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee… now with Facebook

    2. The need for a viable tool for voter response to the Citizens United Decision and broadening the citizen’s capability for participation in general.

    THESE PROBLEMS HAVE NOW BEEN SOLVED!

    For simple illustration of the principal:

    Some round figures: $25 times 150 million voters is $3,750,000,000.
    That would be all of 50 cents a week (giving you even a couple of weeks off for holidays!)

    Now I’m not suggesting that it would work exactly that way… but I am suggesting there’s a whole lot more potential there if it can be tapped… if it can be made easy enough that it becomes part of your regular life…

    I believe that CAN and MUST happen.

    The potential for additional monetization of news and journalism is synergistic icing on this public-interest-centered cake.

    Finding Roots in a Shifting Landscape: Facebook and the Future of Social Networks
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2011/01/finding-roots-in-shifting-landscape.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/CulturalEngineer Tom Crowl

    I wish them good luck with their efforts!

    With an added caveat and pragmatic suggestion:

    The sustainability of many essential “Commons-oriented” enterprises have been sorely strained by the implications of technology… (news and politics being two of particular interest).

    While this new model may have some partial success, I’m skeptical of its ability to address the needs of a transaction that actually precedes the creation of money itself.

    This doesn’t suggest the obsolescence of money… but rather that transactions is certain areas must be… in a sense… liberated. (i.e. simplified in execution and reduced in cost; especially including the ‘micro-transaction’ in speech, politics and other specialized areas.

    The Commons-dedicated Account & Network

    Patent #7,870,067 just granted by USPTO 01/11/’11

    A neutral network of accounts for political, charitable and speech related monetary participation… which in order to properly network and scale individual capability must allow a viable, one-button, secure and financially unburdened micro-transaction. Such a network ideally should maintain its own cloud and bank. Accounts may be created and/or maintained with zero balances and/or only momentary balances during a pass-through transfer (monetization model requires no burden on the actual transaction.)

    From user’s perspective it’s similar to Facebook credits or X-box points except for Commons-oriented functions instead of games, etc. …and most critically NOT adding to or drawing from transaction costs.

    Demo and FAQ http://www.Chagora.com
    LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/culturalengineer
    Civilization Systems Blog http://CulturalEngineer.blogspot.com

    Regarding its potential in politics, especially for networked citizen lobbying and as an ESSENTIAL tool for citizens participation:

    Addressing Two Problems:

    1. Simplifying the process: “…[campaign contribution] could become much easier if campaigns can figure out how to allow people to donate by making the process easier through one click pay methods and a short form for the additional FEC information required.” – Katie Harbath, chief digital strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee… now with Facebook

    2. The need for a viable tool for voter response to the Citizens United Decision and broadening the citizen’s capability for participation in general.

    THESE PROBLEMS HAVE NOW BEEN SOLVED!

    For simple illustration of the principal:

    Some round figures: $25 times 150 million voters is $3,750,000,000.
    That would be all of 50 cents a week (giving you even a couple of weeks off for holidays!)

    Now I’m not suggesting that it would work exactly that way… but I am suggesting there’s a whole lot more potential there if it can be tapped… if it can be made easy enough that it becomes part of your regular life…

    I believe that CAN and MUST happen.

    The potential for additional monetization of news and journalism is synergistic icing on this public-interest-centered cake.

    Finding Roots in a Shifting Landscape: Facebook and the Future of Social Networks
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2011/01/finding-roots-in-shifting-landscape.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/CulturalEngineer Tom Crowl

    I wish them good luck with their efforts!

    With an added caveat and pragmatic suggestion:

    The sustainability of many essential “Commons-oriented” enterprises have been sorely strained by the implications of technology… (news and politics being two of particular interest).

    While this new model may have some partial success, I’m skeptical of its ability to address the needs of a transaction that actually precedes the creation of money itself.

    This doesn’t suggest the obsolescence of money… but rather that transactions is certain areas must be… in a sense… liberated. (i.e. simplified in execution and reduced in cost; especially including the ‘micro-transaction’ in speech, politics and other specialized areas.

    The Commons-dedicated Account & Network

    Patent #7,870,067 just granted by USPTO 01/11/’11

    A neutral network of accounts for political, charitable and speech related monetary participation… which in order to properly network and scale individual capability must allow a viable, one-button, secure and financially unburdened micro-transaction. Such a network ideally should maintain its own cloud and bank. Accounts may be created and/or maintained with zero balances and/or only momentary balances during a pass-through transfer (monetization model requires no burden on the actual transaction.)

    From user’s perspective it’s similar to Facebook credits or X-box points except for Commons-oriented functions instead of games, etc. …and most critically NOT adding to or drawing from transaction costs.

    Demo and FAQ http://www.Chagora.com
    LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/culturalengineer
    Civilization Systems Blog http://CulturalEngineer.blogspot.com

    Regarding its potential in politics, especially for networked citizen lobbying and as an ESSENTIAL tool for citizens participation:

    Addressing Two Problems:

    1. Simplifying the process: “…[campaign contribution] could become much easier if campaigns can figure out how to allow people to donate by making the process easier through one click pay methods and a short form for the additional FEC information required.” – Katie Harbath, chief digital strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee… now with Facebook

    2. The need for a viable tool for voter response to the Citizens United Decision and broadening the citizen’s capability for participation in general.

    THESE PROBLEMS HAVE NOW BEEN SOLVED!

    For simple illustration of the principal:

    Some round figures: $25 times 150 million voters is $3,750,000,000.
    That would be all of 50 cents a week (giving you even a couple of weeks off for holidays!)

    Now I’m not suggesting that it would work exactly that way… but I am suggesting there’s a whole lot more potential there if it can be tapped… if it can be made easy enough that it becomes part of your regular life…

    I believe that CAN and MUST happen.

    The potential for additional monetization of news and journalism is synergistic icing on this public-interest-centered cake.

    Finding Roots in a Shifting Landscape: Facebook and the Future of Social Networks
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2011/01/finding-roots-in-shifting-landscape.html

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  • Mmbromley

    It’s only home delivery print subscribers who get free access. No word on those of us who spend close to 5 figures a year for all the print subs we have delivered to our office.

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  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/24n4nqb

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  • Cochise

    Bleh, get over it. It costs money to provide good journalism and in case you have not been paying attention all print media newspapers are probably going to go to all online in the not-to-distant future anyway.  .50 cents per day is very reasonable.