New York Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site

In an article in yesterday's (September 18, 2007) New York Times by RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA, the paper announced that it would stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight night, "two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives."

"In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free."

The story indicated that while the Times had generated about $20 million from 227,000 paying subscribers — out of 787,000 over all — and generating, the paper didn't release how much traffic would be generated by the search engines, visitors who would be less likely to subscribe to the service.

"The Times’s site has about 13 million unique visitors each month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, far more than any other newspaper site." The paper expects to make up loss income via increased advertising revenue, especially since the Times has collected information about its online readers that is particularly attractive to advertisers.

"The Wall Street Journal, published by Dow Jones & Company, is the only major newspaper in the country to charge for access to most of its Web site, which it began doing in 1996. The Journal has nearly one million paying online readers, generating about $65 million in revenue."


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