The New York Times Paywall Is Not That Bad

No more unlimited access to a website. Their explanation sounds cheery enough, but it's still limiting. Is it the worst thing in the world? Nah.

I use the NYTimes iPhone app religiously. But when I think about it, I rarely leave the Latest News tabs. If I do, it's for information that is covered better elsewhere (I.e. Technology, sports). Since the Latest News section will remain free, the new pay wall won't significantly affect my iPhone usage. The only thing that may hurt is losing access to the Opinion section, which is very valuable and unique to the Times. But is that worth paying $15 a month for website and iPhone access? And an extra $20 for iPad access? Nah, I'll just stick with the free articles that I see shared over social networks.

The iPad app is a different story. Because the iPad is a natural reading device, I usually go through quite a bit of stories on the tablet. But again, is it worth $20 a month (or $35 in conjunction with iPhone access)? After all, I was fine with the original iPad app that had limited content.

The price may have been easier to swallow if the limit of free stories wasn't so low. 20 stories a month is less than one story a day! Wouldn't they rather have more eyeballs on the page for their advertisers, as opposed to the few hardcore people that would be reading the content anyway? Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the Times, stated that he wanted a flexible system where they could adjust the 20 news story a month limit up or down depending on the day's events. This would make sense if the limit was more reasonable, say 20 articles a week. As an example, Sulzberger said that the limit would have been canceled in the wake of 9/11. But .. there is huge news that happens very often, from the BP Oil spill to the Egyptian revolt against Mubarak to the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami. How will these be "ranked" in terms of the article limit being adjusted?

From my Quora post:

I've had an NY Times online account for about 10 years, and I use the iPad on iPhone apps all of the time. I love the content and believe that it is valuable.

However, the prices are just too high. The Daily charges $4 a month (for admittedly sub par content). The Times should not be five times more than this for the tablet option.

The only way that the Times could get away with this is if they kept completely free - which they aren't. I can understand paying for the improved user experience involved with the iPhone and iPad apps, if the web alternative exists.

There are too many other sources of information available that, while not being as great as the Times, are good enough. This is what the execs don't seem to understand