January 17, 2010

NY Times to begin charging for content

New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of sometimes fraught debate inside the paper, the choice for some time has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system adopted by the Financial Times, in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system.
I know a lot of people think this will be the death knell for the Times, but will it? The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Economist, all charge for content and seem to be doing OK.

This change probably will have a major effect on news bloggers however. That loss of content will leave a major hole in a lot of blogs content, and if the Times is successful and other papers follow suit that whole will just get bigger.

If that happens what will develop to fill the void? Or will the news blog die?

h/t Althouse via Instapundit

Althouse asks the relevant question, how many page views will the Times lose because of this?  How will that affect their advertising rates? 

If it was me I would hire some web page design gurus to develop a system that won't allow a blogger to cut and paste unless they accept an ad from one of the Times' paid advertisers to be embedded on the blog.  That seems like the best possible solution.  They could even develop a profile system so that Pro-life bloggers don't end up with Planned Parenthood.  They could also develop an associates program so if you accept more than the minimum ads then you get a cut of the sales.  (I know that's capitalist crazy talk)

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