So, the once-mighty New York Times announced that they are going to charge for "some content" - specifically, about 15 odd op-ed columnists like Thomas Friedman.
Look, $49.95 a year is not a fortune - at least to this audience. That being said, there are several strikes against this move:
1) This is clearly a hold-out move. NYT resisted this for the longest time and this move seems weak and reactive on one end of the spectrum, and downright greedy on the other (who can resist the potential of additional revenue streams)
2) Following on from the previous point, it doesn't seem like a very integrated move. It's siloed, patchy and disjointed. What's my incentive to purchase the paper? Do I get a break online if I do? Do I get a break offline if I purchase this $50 package?
3) Of all the content I would put behind a monetized walled garden, op-ed columnists would be the last to succumb to my grubby little paws. As a fellow commentator, I would imagine the POV pieces are exactly the kind of perspective best read over an espresso at a local coffee shop, in the Sheep's Meadow in Central Park or during the morning train commute
Granted, putting archives into the premium makes sense. Anything with functionality to be searched, sorted, e-mailed, printed etc takes full advantage of the technology which comes part and parcel with the Web consumption experience.
4) Back to the $50 price point. Again, I don't feel this is excessive, however it's like the box overload theory (VCR, DVD, Cable, DVR, P2/Xbox etc.) i.e. the straw that breaks the camel's back.
WSJ has been consistent in charging for its content. NYT backing half-heartedly into a similar venture may prove to be a nice-to-have, as opposed to a have-to-have.
Make no mistake, I have no problem in a dual revenue stream i.e. subscription + advertising. Advertising keeps the price of subscription low enough in the first place. I'm just not sure about this move...