Friday, May 15, 2009

Metered newspaper charges?

Amongst all the different ways to try to get people to pony up for reading newspapers, I hadn’t heard anybody mention the option “the New York Times is considering.

Basically, it’s something similar to your cell phone bill, or the way your ISP bill may have been in the past, or may still be today.

You buy an account with a limit, except in this case the limit will be pageviews or online words rather than minutes. As the story notes, setting the base rate price is key. If you set it right, and get enough people reading, you can charge pretty high “extra” fees.

Of course, the next question is what goes behind the paywall. Times Select flopped with its columnists, which was probably embarrassing to them.

I’d start with the Mag and the Review of Books. Narrowly focused audiences, more dedicated than average readers, even average Times readers.

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