Over the weekend, Gabriel Sherman at New York magazine reported that The New York Times is finally close to unveiling a plan to charge readers for access to its Web site.
Sources tell Sherman that the Times could announced their model — which will be similar to that employed by The Financial Times — by the end of the month, although it won’t be implemented until sometime in the spring. Currently, the FT‘s pay wall allows registered readers to read 10 stories per month before prompting them to sign up for a tiered subscription model.
The Times has been promising to announce plans of a pay wall of some sort since the summer, but execs have been dragging their feet because of disagreement among leaders of the newsroom, Sherman said:
“In favor of a paid model were [executive editor Bill Keller] and managing editor Jill Abramson. [Digital chief Martin Nisenholtz] and former deputy managing editor Jon Landman, who was until recently in charge of nytimes.com, advocated for a free site.”
Although keeping the site free would draw more readers than a restricted pay site, media companies would be remiss if they didn’t try to monetize their online content in order to create a new stream of revenue. Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who invested in the Times last year, might also be behind the pay wall push. The New York Post reported today that Slim made an appearance on CNBC on Friday stating that he was in favor of dumping the free Web content model.
But despite the swirling rumors, the Times is staying mum. Keller declined to comment to New York‘s Daily Intel blog and spokesperson Diane McNulty said: “We’ll announce a decision when we believe that we have crafted the best possible business approach. No details till then.”
New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers –Daily Intel
‘Slim’ Times option –New York Post