‘What Am I Paying For?’

There’s been no shortage of reaction to The New York Times’ digital subscription plan. Here’s what three media executives that have direct experience with paywalls had to say about it:
 
Gordon Crovitz, co-founder of Journalism Online: A metered approach is a much better approach than an old-fashioned paywall. But the data we have shows that it’s better to charge print subscribers a modest amount than make the Web free. It can undermine the value of digital. It’s much better to charge something for digital access or otherwise people ask themselves, “What am I paying for?”
 
Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com: We have felt for a long time [the metered paywall] is a model that could be used for general news as well. The sampling is really important. The important thing is the balance. You have to find the point where free sampling is enough to give people a taste but not a real channel. It took us about two years to find the right balance.
 
Daryl Otte, CEO, TheStreet: We’re really glad they’re raising awareness for the idea that high-quality content needs user support. We don’t really believe that all content needs to be free. When people talk about content, there’s always that concern [about skirting the paywall]. The freemium model—people think it’s terrific. We have a set of free offerings, but it draws the user in.