NY Times Online considers subscription fee

BusinessWeek reports this week that NY Times Online is considering a subscription fee. Stories by Reuters and ComputerWorld. NY Times had 18.5 million unique visitors in November. If NY Times charges, will others follow or try to boost their page views from viewers who decide to not charge.

The model of newspapers charging for online content is Wall Street Journal. From Reuters: “The Journal had about 701,000 paid subscribers for its Web edition as of the third quarter.” Since it first began charging, the WSJ has slowly let a few pieces from behind the wall.

It was interesting that in November, the WSJ had a free week, like the old free HBO or Showtime weekends.

Comments from Terry Heaton: “The real conundrum for any publication taking this risk is the loss of influence — the ability to set and maintain the editorial agenda of the community it serves” and rexblog: “For the past ten years, the NY Times has been mulling that over. Unless they actually DO announce they are going to charge, IT IS NOT NEWS.”

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