March 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
In David Carr’s article he states that ‘For The New York Times, the content is what it manufactures, at a very dear cost, and its best for the paper to control pricing and grow its database of consumers.’ This may indeed be true – the New York Times is probably one of the most well known print papers in the world and its content is of an incredibly high quality and therefore not cheap to produce. Carr seems to suggest in his article that the only way to continue producing this high standard content from a business point of view is to create a pay system for the online paper.
However as I believe and Alan Rusbridger states in his interview there is a fundamental change in journalism and interestingly that “everyone agrees we are going to be smaller.”
While the owners of the New York Times believe that the only way for their newspaper to continue is to introduce a pay for subscription method then why are we seeing such success from so many free content news sites. Case in question is Mashable.com – if you are not familiar with Mashable it is a social media and web trends blog that started in 2005.
Let me throw some numbers at you. Mashable employs 40 people and currently draws 0.7% of Internet traffic in the states (it is ranked 127th). With this in mind how is it that The New York Times whose executive and board of directors makes up 43 people who then control thousands of journalists only manages to attract 1.8% of US traffic.
While that extra 1.1% of internet traffic is not cheap it is clear that the New York Times are approaching the web 2.0 revolution with their heads still in the static world of print. A pay wall is just turning back the clocks to the time when you would pay for a physical newspaper and this time is dead and gone. When the New York Times introduce their pay wall a majority of their users will turn to a high quality alternative that is importantly free.