So the details of the New York Times paywall have emerged as the paywall has gone up in Canada and hits the rest of the world March 28.
What this means for readers is a bit outside this blog’s scope (so read all about it at FBNY) but what it means for the employees at the paper.
Felix Salmon analyzed the numbers and guesses the paywall can only bring in $24 million a year, or about half of what the thing cost to develop. (Ken Doctor is a bit more optimistic, saying the scheme could ultimately bring in $230 million yearly, though “it will take some time to get there.”)
But most importantly, what do the NYT reporters think?
Judging by the reaction on (public) Twitter, overwhelmingly positive.
Here’s David Pogue’s reaction:
“Your reaction to the NY Times charging for Web access (over 20 articles/mo) is overwhelmingly negative. How do YOU suggest we stay afloat?!”
And Nick Kristof’s, in a two-parter:
“Some readers are upset that @NYTimes will charge for online access. Understood. But if we don’t charge, who pays the bills? believe that free news would be great, along with free food and free univ tuition. But I’m afraid it’s not practical.”
And here’s visual op-ed columnist Charles M Blow on the change:
The full text (spanning four tweets) reads:
“Suggesting that journos (or anyone!) should work for free is offensive and ridiculous. Only God and slaves work for free. Whether the @nytimes model works will be up to the market, but I for one applaud the effort, not just for The Times but for journalism…I don’t see many judges, surgeons, police officers forgoing a check because their work is in the public good, why should journalist?! And yes, I’m going to say it…if we loose some viewer then so be it. I’d rather write for people who value my work anyway.”
The assumption implicit in all these reactions? That the darn thing will work, which isn’t yet a guarantee. (And Blow’s additional assumption that taking down the paywall will mean the New York Times Company stops sending him a check every two weeks…that’s just bizarre.)