NYT paywall sub is $100 more expensive than WSJ, Economist and Daily combined

Here's an interesting price-comparison between the forthcoming NYT paywall and other subscription services from the Economist to Dropbox. The NYT offering (in its most expensive guise) is extremely expensive relative to the competition, which leads some to conclude that this is primarily about making paid print subscriptions a good deal, rather than pursuing any kind of digital strategy from people who don't read news on paper, or who live outside the areas where a print NYT is readily available:
As Frédéric Filloux and others have pointed out, The New York Times pricing seems designed not to get people to subscribe digitally, but rather to discourage existing subscribers from cancelling their print subscriptions. I think the chart above validates that view: they apparently have no interest in competing for digital-only dollars.

Does The Times really think the mass audience is going to decide their $455/year is better spent on The Times rather than getting 20+ free articles/month from The Times plus The Wall Street Journal ($207/year) plus The Economist ($110/year) plus say The Daily ($39/year) for good measure, and still having ~$100 left over each year?

Digital Subscription Prices Visualized (aka The New York Times Is Delusional) (via O'Reilly Radar)


  1. These people are nuts. I’ll just stop reading nyt and read something else. Recently, the number of in-my-face ads and page fold-downs on cnn.com has increased dramatically. So, what’s my response? Try to break my habit of typing the easy “cnn.com” into my browser when I want news. I also find it easy to type “nyt.com” to get news. I can easily break myself of that habit too. Now, I’ll just type “news” and let auto-fill populate the field with news.google.com. There is no reason on earth I should have to pay for news or be bombarded with ads that make a news site unreadable. I’ll just take my eyeballs elsewhere. Simple.

  2. the Times is dead to me
    – as a canadian, i was paywalled two days ago, and today i can’t link to the site through my favourite blog.
    – what’s a mutant to do?

  3. Why should we care?
    I was worried during the first 2 days, but there are so many ways to avoid the wall that it’s not an issue anymore.
    The wall is based on cookies. Get rid of cookies, or open a browser that don’t get cookies. That’s it.
    It’s a minor annoyance, no more than signing in anywhere, even if it’s the opposite: doing so make them lose any information about me.

    That said, I agree with you. It basically wrong headed.
    But the press has to experiment with business models. The NYT experiments in the wrong direction? Somebody has to do it. Since this is The New- York Times after all the lesson learned will be widely reported.

    Of course they can make the wall tighter. If they do, they’ll lose even more.

  4. But it’s worth the extra money to get news that has been deemed appropriate for your viewing by the U.S. Gov’t.

  5. The chart is somewhat unnecessarily inflammatory, in part because the NYT’s subscription plan is so nonsensical. No one in their right mind would pay the $35/month for the “All Digital Access” plan, since it is really just double-charging customers for access to the same data with the same account through different devices. The real price is basically on par with the WSJ at around $240 per year.

    The NYT shot themselves in the foot by trying to introduce this too-clever-by-half pricing scheme. They have an opportunity before it actually launches in a few days to correct this by consolidating the pricing plans in to something very simple; $20/month gets you unlimited access to the digital NYT whether that’s via browser or app. Either you’re a member or your not. That’s the kind of simplicity of pricing that the internet likes. If paper subscribers were going to jump ship because of pricing, they’ve already done it, so don’t bother trying to greenmail subscribers in to getting a paper subscription – there’s just no point.

  6. This might also be an implementation of the Wendy’s Triple Cheeseburger strategy: creating an over-the-top category to make the next-lower category seem more reasonable and therefore more likely to be purchased.

  7. Why not micro payments? I’d be happy to pay a bit for content if it didn’t break the bank. $15 a month (their lowest rate) is awfully steep… It seems like they’d do better picking up a small amount from a lot of people.

  8. A certain car company underwrites my subscription. Ironically, a physical disability prevents me from driving.

  9. Incentiveizing the desired behavior is a fundamental tenet of game and interactive design.

    It seems quite evident that the NYTime’s goal is to increase print subscriptions, most likely for ad revenue reasons. This only surprises me because I had been under the impression that digital ads were more profitable for them. Evidently this is not the case.

    That, or the business case for print ads is stronger – more predictable? less volatile? I’m not actually sure what the superiority of print ads over digital would be.

  10. I would never pay even $15 a month for the basic plan.

    As soon as I heard about the new pricing plan I logged out of the NYT site to show my displeasure. A few days later I got an email from the Times that said Lincoln (as in cars) would pick up the tab for a complimentary subscription for the rest of the year. I bit at that but I’m still looking at the Times much less. (The Christian Science Monitor is pretty excellent.)

    I might pay $5 a month but I’m surprised they don’t go for a super low price like 1.99 and get more payers…but what do I know?

  11. I’ll read articles from NYT when they pay me. I want ten cents per word, plus $1.00 per minute spent there, plus a base salary of $15 per article.

    In other words, “Me? Read the NYTs? How amusing.”

  12. As a theatre professional, I read NYT.com daily for reviews, news items, etc. on the world of theatre. The information available from NYT.com is practically incomparable in this particular field. While there are plenty of other papers and blogs that cover the same material (I read many of them daily as well), NYT is still relatively peerless in its authority and coverage of the subject of New York Theatre. Its critics are among the most respected in and important to the fabric of American theatre. So I feel especially done in by the new firewall – NYT.com offers information that I can’t necessarily get elsewhere, and I am apt to read five or more articles per day in that one section alone. I agree that $15/month ($180/year) is steep but if I wish to continue to stay up to date, I feel I have little choice. (I don’t think it’s just a cookies issue because I believe I have to sign into my NYT.com account to read any articles at all, but perhaps I’m incorrect?) Are there other industries or individuals who might be affected in the same way?

  13. I’m relatively happy with their kindle plan – $20/mo or $240/year – that’s more in line with the others, and cheaper than home delivery ($385) or newsstand ($885)

  14. I’ve already gotten a free (browser-only) subscription, sponsored by Lincoln. Maybe this is actually a really clever new advertising channel. Or maybe the hive-mind here is right & this is just dumb.

  15. I bet the Times created this paywall on the assumption, “Well, The Wall Street Journal, another prestigious, internationally read New York paper, has been successful with a paywall, so it should work for us too.” But the WSJ’s paywall is successful because it attracts a relatively large number of folks in the financial sector who are rich as fuck and not technically savvy, and don’t mind paying the subscription, and also folks in the financial sector who read the WSJ online from their office, and can get it expensed. But no company is gonna let you expense your weekly dose of Maureen goddamn Dowd.

  16. Once again public libraries offer great value to patrons.

    In Medicine Hat, Alberta, my library system (Shortgrass Library System) subscribes to a database called “Business Source Elite” and it contains the HTML Full Text for the most recent issue (March 19th, 2011) of the Economist and it has back issues to June 30th, 1990. This database is available to me from home anytime.

    Check your local libraries and see what they provide you in electronic form that you can access anywhere.

    Libraries: You – smarter and more interesting!

  17. I have a weekend subscription to the Times, and through it I get access to the complete online daily paper. Well worth it and I imagine I will stay subscribed for quite some time. Best example of print journalism that you are going to find, in my opinion.

  18. People need to realize that they are willing to spend more money on their monthly cable subscription than they would on a NYT subscription. I don’t work for the NYT but I have worked at other newspapers and can tell you that a journalist puts more work and thought into an enterprise story than some Hollywood TV writer does churning out a weekly show and the journalist gets paid FAR less. People need to respect the amount of work and talent that goes into putting a paper like the NYT together and give them their due. People have gotten so used to getting their news and music for free that they take it for granted.

    1. I agree with you. Journalists are underpaid and undervalued and overworked.

      My issue with this paywall is that it’s backward and upside down. The Times is asking me to start paying for the exact same level of access that I have received for free for almost 15 years (I started reading the site when I was 16). They’ve offered the same level of access for all of those 15 years, if you don’t count the failed “Times Select” paywall.

      Why didn’t they implement a subscription plan 10 years ago when, I assume, the cost of running a website was more expensive than now (based on the magnificent drop in price of processors and memory over the last decade)?

  19. Totally CRAZY!!!!! I can not believe the news are going to charge for content. I read over 10 sources to get a good critical judgement of the subject, including spanish news. This mean that now I will pay over 1000 dollars a year. F that!!!

  20. The WSJ is incredibly expensive too. But unlike NYT you can get the WSJ at incredible discounts from other sites on the Internet. Notably, at the moment, it can be had for $63 on Amazon. Take that NYT!

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