As Its Paywall Launches, Times Announces Deep Discounts

In an effort to wean its online readership off of the idea of unlimited free content—and on to its new metered pay model—The New York Times is offering deeply discounted digital subscription rates for the start of its new paywall. The discounted rate is 99 cents for the first four weeks of any digital subscription package.
 
The discount was announced Monday morning, just hours before the paywall went live on the Times’ Web site at 2 p.m. Following the first four-week period, users intending to read more than 20 articles per month on nytimes.com have a choice of three subscription plans. The discount offered for the first four weeks represents a $14 reduction for the plan that includes Web and smartphone access, and a $19 markdown for the option that includes Web and tablet access. It’s a $34 discount for the most expensive option, which includes unlimited viewing on all platforms.
 
On the morning of the paywall’s launch, Martin Nisenholtz, the paper’s senior vice president for digital operations, gave a talk at the Newspaper Association of America convention in which he said that there is no “plan B” in place in case the paywall doesn’t work as planned. He explained that the Times will instead adjust its model as needed, trying to find an equilibrium where traffic to its site remains as high as possible while content is prevented from becoming too freely available.