With NYTimes.com now set to follow FT.com with a metered paid web model, both companies’ bosses gave presentations and sat together on a panel at the FT’s own Digital Media & Broadcasting Conference to debate the strategies. Here are the videos…
— NYT chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger, who gave a fuller talk at our paidContent 2010 conference last month was asked why he’s waiting until 2011 to launch NYTimes.com’s model: You don’t get any prizes for getting it fast – you get prizes for getting it right … It’s going to take time – we have that time.”
Will the iPad app be pay-for? “It would not be impossible to imagine. Whether it’s paid immediately, or paid when we go to pay on the web remains to be seen.” Sulzberger said no decisions have yet been taken on pricepoints. The model: “It will allow NYTimes.com to remain a vital part of the search-driven web, keeping our traffic numbers high and allowing us to remain an industry leader in display advertising.
On Google: “To denounce Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is like denouncing oxygen.” But: “Are you building a model for Google … or for your loyalists? The answer has to be for your loyalists.”
— FT CEO John Ridding said gathering reader data helps FT segment and understand: “There’s been far too much talking (on whether people will pay) and not enough doing. What model works best? There’s no single answer. Some readers may get sticker shock … next step is to extend the flexibility of the frequency model with micropayments – we’ll be trialling a service with PayPal over the coming months.” NYT is not considering micropayments, Ridding said.
“There’s a risk of subscription fatigue, not necessarily because of the amount but because of the process. It needs to be a frictionless, seamless process – but that’s a technological issue that has a solution; iTunes cracked it.
“As publishers go to a pay-for model, we’ll then see the development of aggregators, one-stop shops. The key thing is to maintain pricing (control).” Sulzberger and Ridding agreed it’s “critical” to “have a relationship” with the consumer. But, on both points, the publishers will be dependent on negotiation with platform operators like Apple.