NY Times limits content for non-subscribers, revisits app pay model

By Jonathan Espinosa Comment




(Photo credit: New York Times)

Starting June 27, The New York Times will begin limiting non-subscribing, mobile app users to access only three articles per day. Prior to this change, the daily newspaper app would provide nonpaying users with 10-15 free articles from the Top News section.

Though the Times will be limiting access to only three full articles a day, it will still allow users to browse section fronts and articles summaries even after a user has expended their allowances. The three articles are also not limited by section, granting access to any article, blog post, videos and slide shows. Non-subscribers will have the opportunity to sign up for a free seven-day trial for full access. Previously, the Times would provide mobile app users with more free articles than on the web. Non-subscribers can still access 10 free articles a month on the web version of the Times.

Though the new model is meant to rebalance the web site and mobile apps, usage is not completely parallel. Depending on their reading habits, users can expend their entire preview articles in one any day, but the mobile app will promptly refill the three previews.

Web subscriptions will range between $15 to $35 every 4 weeks. The change shows the shift in their advertising model toward a subscription model. Last year was the first time that revenue earned from subscriptions surpassed advertising revenue.

Looking at the mobile app landscape overall, this change signifies the importance of content versus mobile advertising. Though it belongs to a separate genre, the news of Candy Crush Saga removing mobile advertising is directly related to this shift.  Users are willing to spend money on applications as long as the experience meets expectations and the content is valuable to them.