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Summary:

For nearly 40 minutes, top executives from The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) took questions from interviewer Staci D. Kramer, co-editor and…

paidContent2010 NYT Panel

For nearly 40 minutes, top executives from The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) took questions from interviewer Staci D. Kramer, co-editor and EVP of ContentNext Media, and participants in paidContent 2010. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman and publisher; Janet Robinson, president and CEO; and Martin Nisenholtz, SVP-digital operations, knew the interest would be intense but while they were willing to buy lunch, they weren’t ready to feed the appetite for detail about plans for NYTimes.com to go metered in 2011. Instead, much of the focus was on strategy. Sulzberger insisted the new model isn’t intended to choke off traffic and new users, while Nisenholtz said the challenge is creating a model that charges while growing advertising — and Robinson tried very hard to convince people a meter isn’t a paywall. The Q&A includes exchanges with The Guardian‘s Emily Bell; Slate’s Jacob Weisberg and Reuters’ Felix Salmon.

  1. They don’t seem to realize that one of the reasons so many people come in through the front page is it is free (often now when I see a link to an interesting NY Times story, I’ll just go to the site since there will be other articles I want to read).

    More people will come to stories in other ways when they erect the paywall er start the meter running.

    Some people will subscribe (more if those who want it to be less expensive get their way), but many will not.

    Though I guess people could always just go to the library and read the New York Times in print which has no meter running on how many stories one can read.

    Another problem they will face is what happens when there is a major story like Haiti that people keep coming back for updates? People who normally won’t exhaust their “meter” will.

    Again, some will pay but others will just be frustrated and turn to other sources.

    And if blogs are included, this could happen even faster. Will each time you reload a Lede blog gathering coverage of an Iran protest be an article view? Or you refresh a liveblog of the Oscars?

    If that is the case, people may go to the Guardian or Andrew Sullivan for Iran coverage and hundreds of other sites (or just a hashtag on twitter) for the Oscars.

    Also, the Times has put a lot of effort into social media over the last year and people have responded. I imagine more readers are coming in through twitter, facebook, and blogs than in the past. Even though it isn’t a huge number now, it has ripples.

    If there are limits on the free articles from links, people will be less likely to post a link to a Times story. They will either find another news source for the story or link to a summary on a site like HuffPost.

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  2. What a joke. These are washed up newspaper publishers without a clue. Martin, Janet, Artie and teh rest should just retire. Their panel was an embarrassment to all journalism. The NYTimes should focus on removing their crooked reporters.

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  3. I know they feel their back is against the wall, but, this just sounds like a compromise to make some money instead of blazing the trail to a new model for content valuation. They need to process their content like other successful online venues. Its a simple process really, aggregate, curate and THEN offer the deep editorial you are known for AFTER giving free value to lead them in. You put it all behind a paywall and you can kiss your news organization goodbye! The hard part is that you wont be missed either as the grassroots site that pops up in your place run by your determined ex-employees will gladly hasten your demise. You may want to rethink this.

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  4. Here in Australia this is being discussed only by the murdoch sites but so far it seems very few people are interested or willing to pay for content when we are so spoilt for choice, then you have to weigh up the quality of news and articles produced, hmm thats one area we begin to become unstuck “quality” then there’s the question of news written about everyday man in the street and a fee model for them “gasp” imagine if everyone wanted a part of the pie. Personally I dont see it becoming a success here in OZ as much as Murdoch would like to capitalise with what many view as sometimes slanted and dubious conent its a case of too many choices. My money is on the many excellent free news and information sites that innovate in there ways of attracting income from there traffic, not to mention the many sites that are standing in line just waiting for murdoch to do this so they can simply take his traffic with there free content. Publications rise and publications fall, both in the real world and the digital, to me there is nothing that is not tangible that I am willing to pay for, we have too many avenues of news and content and when it comes to “expert” opinion well we all know what the 250 million plus financial experts opinions did for the financial meltdown, we might as well of been taking financial advice from Opera we would have been better off.

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