I’ve seen a lot of wishful thinking recently, some of it here, that the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) brass will wake up and suddenly decide not to switch on the meters at NYTimes.com. Don’t hold your breath. The NYT’s paywall intentions — telegraphed more than a year ago and repeated with various levels of detail since — are very clear and the plans are close to being announced, possibly as early as today. [The announcement came soon after this posted. Details.]
That specific timing’s not based on info from the company, whose reps have been tight lipped about timing other than to refer back to promises that it would be coming “early this year” or, more recently, to say “shortly.” But various outsiders with stakes are prepping for the news and starting to reach out as the drums get louder.
If the plan is to go metered by April 1, the start of a new quarter, this would be about the minimum amount of time needed for a heads up to users that the long-expected charges are about to start. They could opt for longer notice but CEO Janet Robinson said earlier this month she expected the meter to launch shortly.
Unlike some news sites, which have opted for a total or near-total wall, NYTimes.com is trying to balance being closed enough to draw paying subs and open enough to stay accessible and relevant.