NYTimes.com announced today that it would offer a new subscription-based service on its Web site, charging users an annual fee to read its Op-Ed, news columnists and include access to The Times’s online archives.
The subscription is set to launch in September and will cost $49.95 annually or be provided free to home-delivery subscribers of the newspaper.
The Times has 1.1 million print circulation but nearly 1.7 million daily unique readers to its Web site. That’s a significant and tempting number to monetize.
But, raising the “paywall” is a tricky decision, especially for newspaper sites. The LA Times can tell you that. Finding the right mix of unique content that an audience will pay for while not alienating the larger base that supports your advertising revenues is no easy task.
The access to the archives is an obvious one and smart. But paying for pundits? We’re not so sure about that. It’s not like punditry is hard to find on the Web. In fact, there’s probably no greater commodity.