PRNewser‘s Joe Ciarallo attended the PaidContent 2010 conference today in New York. At the conference, the top three executives at The New York Times Company addressed perhaps one of the biggest stories in journalism in recent months: the company’s decision to move to a “metered system” over the next year from what is now a completely open and free website.
Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the company’s chairman & publisher, insisted that the Times is not worried that a pay meter will cause the newspaper to lose relevance. “We are not trying to eliminate ourselves from the digital eco-system,” he said. “We’ll only lose relevance if we lose our brand promise, and our brand promise is having the best journalism you can find.”
“What people misunderstand about the business model issue is it’s not just to figure out a pricing and metered based model, but it’s about how to figure out how to grow your advertising business,” said Martin Neisenholtz, SVP of digital operations. “We intend fully to grow that ad business for as long as we need to, and that is the challenge.”
When asked if the company’s blogs will be a part of the metered system, Neisenholtz said, “Our intention is that blogs would be behind the wall.”
President & CEO Janet Robinson reinforced the stance that the metered system will help the Times grow its ad revenue and audience. “The metered solution is an elegant solution providing both free and paid content. This is a way for us to continue to have a robust ad base but also have a large audience as well,” she said.