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As the world waits for the official word on the price for full web access to the NYTimes.com through the long-awaited metered paywall, Bloomberg has an unidentified source who claims that the publisher has settled on charging less than $20 per month. Still, not much new there, as NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) executives have been suggesting for months that metered access would be comparable to the price of a subscription on the Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle.
Speaking of the Kindle edition, Amazon recently sent a note to NYT subs that under a program the paper started in October lowered the rate to $14.99 from Nov. 1, 2010-Mar. 1, 2011. After that March 1, subs will be billed at the monthly rate “then in effect.” Amazon will send a reminder about that change prior to date, suggesting that’s when the paywall will come into effect.
There are several other digital paid versions of the NYT currently available and the $19.99 figure is prominent across the board. Although Amazon offered that discount, the NYT is still $19.99 on the Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) Nook. In addition to the e-readers, the NYT’s own Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) Air-based Times Reader 2.0 has raised its subscription from $3.45 a week (just under $180 a year, $13.80 monthly) to $4.62 a week, or $19.99 a month. Separately, web users can also pay for the “Replica Edition” of the newspaper, which offers a choice of Monday-Friday for $14.99 per month; to receive all seven days of the Replica, users are charged $19.99 monthly.
Asked about the latest speculation, a NYTCo rep said the company had no comment.
Last month, during a session at an investors conference, NYTCo executives suggested that at least 15 percent of the NYTimes.com’s roughly 40 million uniques are “heavy users” and would be inclined to pay for a digital subscription. Poynter’s Rick Edmonds did some math on that, calculating that a pool of 6 million of these “heavy users” that are marked as potential paying subs.
If the NYTCo were to charge roughly the same amount as the $19.99 monthly subscription it charges elsewhere, that would add up to $6 million in revenue each month.