My Emerging New York Times Paywall Neurosis
So, here’s the deal.
I’m having major agita over this whole New York Times paywall thing. And I know I shouldn’t be.
Let me just say, I love The New York Times. The gray lady has been a big part of my life since I first went to NYU as a wee college lad.
I used to zoom around the streets of Manhattan, working as a bike messenger and taking my life into my own hands (not to mention that of all the bus and taxi drivers), and whenever I took a break I’d sit down with a copy of the Times and play catch up with the world.
This was WAY before anything digital. But in 1995, or somewhere thereabouts, the Times moved online and trained me not to worry about the cost of the newspaper by underwriting their stories via advertising.
So, I went along for the ride.
Now, I’m near a crossroads. Though I highly value their content, and am willing to give them some money, I have to wonder how much is the right price. Currently, I’m hearing at least $15/month. I could probably buy into that.
But then, I see that they’re going to penalize me just because I have an iPad AND an iPhone (and want to be able to use it via the Web site). Gray lady, it’s NOT the devices that’s interesting to me. It’s allowing me to get the information via whatever digital channel happens to be the most convenient to me at the time.
Don’t you get that??? I know you have some really smart people working up there (I know some of them), but when I first saw this plan, I had to shake my head.
You trained me not to pay for your product, and now you’re training me to pay more than I probably should just because I pick up the virtual newspaper at more than one newstand???
Here’s the best part. I found I could subscribe to the Weekend edition, complete with home delivery of an actual printed newspaper, for about the same amount I would pay for one of the middling digital editions…and I’d still get access to the New York Times Web site and digital editions gratis.
Could that be correct?
So, Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller, know that I’m ready and willing to hand the gray lady some money every year, but please, simplify simplify simplify.
When you continue to give stories away for free via social media and search referrals, and yet *I* as a longtime loyal reader have to pay more to get access on these digital platforms (which, I would have thought, ultimately save some money since you didn’t HAVE to deliver a physical newspaper to my doorstep), there’s something wrong with this picture.
I’ve got my credit card out. But I’m still waiting for a plan from you that makes sense and doesn’t force me to go out and sell newspapers subscriptions door by door just so I can pay for the privilege!