Thursday, February 12, 2009

How I'd save the New York Times

Henry Blodget has been tracking the collapse of the New York Times for a few months. Among other things he recommends they adopt the pay policy of the WSJ (the WSJ evolved this policy over time) ...
Save The New York Times - Henry Blodget - (NYT)

We are proposing that the New York Times do what the Wall Street Journal does, which is run a hybrid subscription-free business:
  • Many news stories are available for free at every day. So much so that the site's direct, non-subscriber traffic is meaningful and impressive.
  • ALL of the WSJ's content is indexed by, and available through, Google and other search engines. Most people don't understand this, but it is critically important. The WSJ's paid content is NOT hidden behind a firewall. It is available for free, all over the web, on a story by story basis.
  • Many sites have deals with the WSJ where they can link to WSJ's content and have their readers read it for free. This encourages bloggers and other publications to include the WSJ in the conversation economy.
  • The only WSJ content that web searchers and readers CANNOT access are the full navigation pages of Put differently, only subscribers can read The Wall Street Journal. Non-subscribers have to settle for reading the occasional Wall Street Journal story when they happen to encounter it.
I used to pay just to read Krugman, so I know I'd pay as long as the price wasn't insane.

I'm atypical though. They need something more.

The Encyclopedia Britannica online charges about $70 a year for full access. The NYT should buy/partner with the EB and the World Book. For $70 a year customers would get full access to the NYT, full access to the article archives, and full access to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the World Book Encyclopedia. NYT articles would routinely leverage the content of the encyclopedias.

Put this way, it looks like a bargain -- an easy sell for families with school aged children.

No, really, it was easy. Glad to have helped. Ok, if you insist, we'll accept 10 years of free subscriptions ...

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