According to this NY Mag article, the New York Times is gearing up to start charging its online audience for content—something that’s been in the works for a while, but now the change appears imminent.
I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, I’m a journalist, so I support paying for content that’s been reported and written by a talented staff. In fact, I pay $15 a month for a subscription to the New York Times Reader, because I don’t get a physical newspaper and I want to support them in some way. I also pay for an online subscription to the WSJ.
On the other hand, I don’t pay for access to any other newspapers. And if the New York Times does this successfully, I can’t imagine that other premium papers won’t follow suit. Honestly, I think a paid online subscription model may be the only way newspapers will be able to keep their heads above water as more people stop paper delivery. (Unless online advertising morphs into something really life-sustaining.)
If we have to pay for access to all online newspapers, suddenly that gets expensive. Will customers bite? I’m not sure. And what about bloggers who post several times a day and comb dozens of news sources around the clock? What if access to that news costs cash?
It’s an interesting debate, and I feel like a lot of people believe online content should be free, period. Even if that causes all but the largest and most successful newspapers to fail.
What do you think?