After Bill Keller sent out an announcement that New York Times would cut 100 newsroom jobs by the end of the year, Richard Perez-Pena wrote up a post on the Media Decoder blog about the cuts. Several New York Times reporters noted on their Twitter accounts that commentors under the post were asking if they could pay money to read the Times online.
Here’s a sample:
“Well, there is a solution to layoffs – start charging for on-line content, I’d pay….seriously. Why not?”
I want to pay for my online use of the New York Times. I read the site multiple times a day. I can’t imagine life without it. Why oh why can’t somebody come up with a good way to get this money out of the hundreds of thousands of readers who would gladly pay for the content? Figure it out now! I have my credit card ready.
– Anne Hills
“As a long term subscriber, I am both saddened and concerned by this news.
If it has not been done already, may I suggest you study some form of charge to customers for the web paper. I would not be adverse to a payment, in addition to my subscription, to help.
May I say however, that to increase the intrusive ads that balloon one way or the other automatically is definitely not the way to go! You would lose more than you gain, as people such as myself would go elsewhere, including subscriptions.
I hope all the people affected land on their feet!”
“Here’s my idea:
I don’t want have to decide *before* I read an article whether I want to pay for it, I want to decide *after*. To that end, I propose the following micropayment system. If I want to get content from a consortium of providers (say, anything owned by The New York Times Company, or Time-Warner, or Seed Media Group, or a group of publishers that set up their own consortium), I set up an account, pay my $50/year, and get access. If I like a piece of content (article, podcast, interactive graphic, whatever), I click the “Tip the Author(s)” button, and a chunk of my $50, maybe 10 cents, gets redirected to the actual people creating the content I actually like (not just start to read). If I don’t use up my $50 for the year, it just gets split internally by the consortium. This way, readers have control over where the money goes and get to associate “paying money” with “feeling good about what they read”, providers get cash, and the best providers get the most cash.”
Of course, some aren’t so welcoming to the idea of charging online:
I used to read the Economist online. Now it charges for content. I don’t read it. Pay-for-content online? That train has left the station. The Times and other newspapers saw the train wreck coming in the early ’90s and put their heads in the sand. Now they’re reaping the whirlwind. Eventually, advertisers will catch up with the fact that Times online readers are affluent consumers and pay accordingly. Until then, the paper will have to keep biting the bullet.
– Hell’s Kitchen Guy
Don’t charge for online use. Ever! Never!
Looks like the Times will have to make that “gut call” soon.