Wednesday, May 18, 2005

So it's very shrewd to be, very very popular, like me

The New York Times plans to start charging for all but basic newswire content. In what terms do they plan on justifying this wrongheaded decision? NEW YORK (AdAge.com )-- Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president of digital operations at The New York Times Co., defended his Web site's decision to place its columnists behind a "paid only" barrier at a conference yesterday and said the Times may also offer columns to bloggers in a revenue-sharing arrangement. The Times' digital chief was barraged with criticism, questions and snarky remarks from the audience in a lively question-and-answer session following his talk. He said it was necessary to create TimesSelect to have a second revenue stream that didn't interfere with the advertising model. "We wanted to create an offer powerful enough to attract people and get them to subscribe, but keep that big front door [to the rest of the daily content] open so we can continue to grow our advertising business." He said the archives have earned about $1 million a year in revenue at $2.95 per article. "We expect to earn a lot more." Mr. Nisenholtz emphatically defended the $49.95 price tag for TimesSelect. "People think nothing of ordering a $25 martini at the hotel bar -- but pay 50 bucks for archived material at the Times? Oh my God!" I wonder if it's occurred to Mr. Nisenholtz that the result of this subscription model will be a conscious self-selection of only the type of reader who thinks nothing of spending $25 on a martini? It's surely no way to increase circulation, or the paper's relative influence in the media at large. Way to scuttle the flagship of the liberal media, guys! (Via The Huffingblog.)

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