For the third (?) time now the New York Times has announced that it is disappearing behind a subscription wall. I wonder how long it will take for others to follow ?
This morning I got the following notice that they're testing it out on Canadians before launching it worldwide !
Dear New York Times Reader,
Today marks a significant transition for The New York Times as we introduce digital subscriptions. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform. The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications....
Thanks to the success of 'apps', which have shown that people will pay for online content as long as it is called something other than a subscription, a new era of paid online content is coming very soon.
What's innovative about the Times' new approach is that there are three different packages you can choose from versus past attempts when, if I recall correctly, you had be a paid up subscriber at the dead-tree subscription rate to get online access (this was in pre-App days).
- NYTimes.com (unltd access) & Smartphone App: $15/ mo.
- NYTimes.com (unltd access) & Tablet App: $20/ mo.
- All Access (NYTimes.com and both Apps): $35/ mo.
Oh, and if you want the the paper version ? It's $23.40/ mo delivered in New York and $29.60 delivered in other major U.S. centres (L.A. and Minneapolis, for instance). You get the All Access with that.
It won't be a complete subscription wall. As the notice sent today states:
Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.
The home page at NYTimes.com and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all users at all times.
Closer to home, the Free Press already advertises different price points. The online version is $12.50/mo and paper-version (delivered) is $23.96/ mo ($26.95 outside of city). Of course with little content behind a subscription wall subscribing online is a bit moot but presumably the day will come ....
On the magazine front, most major Canadian magazine titles have jumped on the zinio bandwagon for their e-versions.
What seems a bit counter intuitive is that with many titles, The Walrus and Winnipeg-produced Canada's History (formerly The Beaver, snicker, snicker) for example, the subscription price of $29.95 per year is the same for either the paper or e-zine version.
Others do differentiate between the two. For instance (annual rates):
- Toronto Life: $24.95 in paper; $15.95 for the e-zine.
- The Hockey News $52.95 in paper; $39.95 for the e-zine.
- Reader's Digest Canada (which is Canada's top selling mag) is $24.95 and $20.00.
For an international magazine like Esquire, paper subscriptions via Rogers are $13.75 and the e-zine through zinio is $8.
NYT unveils pay wall: Canada first The Globe and Mail
The Grey Lady builds a paywall The Economist
NYT's paywall will 'absolutely work' The Atlantic