The New York Times today erected an online paywall for its readers in Canada and plans to roll this system out worldwide on March 28. As had been rumored in the past, NYTimes.com readers will be able to access 20 articles per month for free. The New York Times will also charge users of its smartphone and tablet apps, though the Top News section in these apps will remain free. Monthly subscriptions will start at $15 per month for access to the website and smartphone app. For access to the website and tablet app – but not the smartphone apps – user have to pay $20. Full access to NYTimes.com content on all platforms will cost $35. There is no website-only subscription.
Subscribers also get access to 100 articles from the New York Times archive every four weeks. Readers who already have a print subscription to either the New York Times or International Herald Tribune, will get free access to all of these services.
Free Access to Linked Articles
It’s important to note, that readers who come to NYTimes.com “from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter” will be able to read all of those linked articles for free without affecting their monthly limit. Interestingly, though, the New York Times also notes that “for some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.” Users coming from Google will only get 5 free articles that don’t count towards the 20 free articles per month.
Will You Subscribe or Just Find Other News Sources?
The New York Times is part of my daily news routine – both online and on the iPad. I probably read far more than 20 articles on the site per morning. I would be more than willing to pay $15 per month for blanket access to all of the New York Times’ content on all devices, but paying $35 just so I can read it on the iPad, too, is a bit steep.
The online pricing is clearly driven by the baseline price for its print subscriptions. You can currently get a Sunday-only print subscription, which qualifies for free access to all digital editions, for $30 per month (though there is currently an offer to get this for 50% off for the first 3 months). Basically, you have to pay $5 more if you subscribe to the online editions so you won’t have to deal with the print edition arriving on your doorstep every weekend.