The New York Times raises pay wall, launches digital subscriptions

The New York Times will start charging readers a subscription fee to access some of it's content, effective immediately in Canada and starting on March 28 in the US and globally. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of The New York Times, said:

Our decision to begin charging for digital access will result in another source of revenue, strengthening our ability to continue to invest in the journalism and digital innovation on which our readers have come to depend. This move will enhance The Times's position as a source of trustworthy news, information and high-quality opinion for many years to come.

Here's a breakdown of the new digital subscription model.

  • All users of NYTimes.com are able to enjoy 20 articles at no charge each month (including slideshows, videos and other forms of content). Beyond 20 articles and for open access to the site, users will be asked to become digital subscribers.
  • On The Times's smartphone and tablet applications, the Top News section will remain free. To delve deeper into the apps' other sections, users will be asked to become digital subscribers.
  • The Times is offering three digital subscription packages that allow users to choose the devices on which they want to access Times content. NYTimes.com will be included as part of any subscription.
  • All New York Times home delivery newspaper subscribers receive free, unlimited access to NYTimes.com and the full content on all of The Times's applications.
  • Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media will be able to access those individual articles, even if they have reached their reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.
  • The homepage at NYTimes.com and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all users at all times.

Access to The Times' iPhone app runs $15 every 4 weeks, the iPad app costs $20 every 4 weeks, and a subscription to both devices is whopping $35 every 4 weeks. In keeping with Apple's new subscription policy, The New York Times will begin using in-app purchase by June 30.

Anyone planning on signing up?

[The New York Times Company]

Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at iosapps@imore.com

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There are 27 comments. Add yours.

Winski says:

And send money to the NYT when the SAME CONTENT is available everywhere?? NOT A CHANCE...

cardfan says:

I'd only pay for the local fishwrap (if they offered an app) + WSJ & a couple of other business journals. General national news is free & easy.

Keith says:

So if I were to find away to circumvent the paywall and read for free, would I be an undocumented site visitor?

GeorgeDW says:

Disappointing. I read the Times on iphone every day. Still, I understand their desire to profit from digital readers, and the $15 a month is significantly less than a home delivery subscription. I'll probably he subscribing.

Wayne says:

Yes. We currently pay over $50/month for the print subscription. We're switching to the $20/month iPad subscription. This is a good deal for us. I've been looking forward to eliminating the print subscription for months. For the last couple of months, I've been reading it on the iPad but continuing to get the print copy (which I generally don't read), just so I can pay something for the paper. Now that there are digital-only subscriptions I plan to switch.

dshanah says:

So they think they can charge more for reading exactly the same content on an iPad rather than on an iPhone or touch. Are they insane? When are content providers going to learn not to try to control what devices people use?
I never use their silly apps anyway, I always read the website using whatever browser I normally use on that device. It sounds like web access can be from any device, but if you choose to use their buggy, crash-prone and basically less useful than the website mobile device apps then you have to pay more to use the tablet app than the phone app. Yeah, that's gonna work, charge more for accessing the content using a less flexible and less reliable method...
It seems the NYT believe people will pay more to read the same content on a bigger screen, when they can pay the lesser amount and read it on any size screen via a web browser. And the browser allows them to do things neither the phone nor tablet apps do - print to PDF, use Instapaper, use links, etc. Presumably they think people are looking for something that looks and works more like the dead tree version of their site, the more like it the more it will cost. Boy are they deluded.

ArcAngel says:

The Daily's dollar a week fee is looking pretty attractive now.

Wayne says:

Only if you think that news is just a commodity and the only distinguishing feature is price.

Tina says:

I would have paid, had their subscription levels made any sense at all. Should be $15 for a USER device independent. That I would pay for. I'm not paying by device.

tuscanidream says:

That is ridiculous. I can buy a physical newspaper cheaper than that and it costs them more to issue (design, buy paper, have it printed, deliver by air or truck).
F U!

tuscanidream says:

I just read in responses that NYT newspaper cost 50$. That's hella expensive and makes the iPad app look like a good deal, but thts only because the both is so overpriced. Newspapers I see at the store usually cost 1-2.5$

cosby says:

Correct.. And $1-2.50 x about 30 days per month equals...?

tuscanidream says:

Per day?! Don't most newspapers come out weekly?!

Sean Peters says:

Umm, no. Very few newspapers are weeklies. Almost all are dailies. I seriously can't believe I have to even answer this question.

tuscanidream says:

Maybe it's because I don't live in New York. We have county and town papers that are popular and come out weekly, as well as the the Sunday Journal that comes out every Sunday. I have no idea how you would even get enough worthy content to have a newspaper come out every day. Must be filled with garbage or crap no one cares about.

kbduvall says:

They obviously "don't get it"; which is why print media is having such a hard time right now in the first place.
In fact, most industries that are user-hostile are having problems right now.

ChrisLopez says:

Well, now I can delete that app. I was a daily user, but this will only hurt NYTIMES Advertisement bottom line from in app views as well as Apple's "free apps are great" advertisements. I think we will begin to see more free Lite apps and upsells till companies realize the game is evolving too quickly for their snail paced updates. I don't need another recurring bill though. Goodbye NYTimes, see you in a few months when you change course.

icebox93 says:

It's NOT a per month fee. Read carefully because it is a "per 4 weeks" fee. That comes out to 13 payments a year, not 12. So the web + phone charge is $195 per year, the web + iPad is $260, and to access both ways is a ludicrous $455 per year. I doubt they'll have great success pulling in new subscribers with this. For those with the print sub even $455 is a great deal, so maybe they'll just gain subs for the phone and iPad app by cannibalizing print subs. Too bad because I'd be willing to pay something, but not the way they're doing it.
I weaned from the times when times select was put in place, and it'll be much easier this time since I'm not as heavy of a times user this time around.

cth11 says:

I have been waiting for this and am simply just disappointed. I would have gladly signed on had it been in the $8 price range of Hulu Plus...But going from zero to 15 a month is simply too much.
I would gladly pay for NYT content.....just not their price. I hope they get wise in 6 months and drop the price. Oh, and also have it not be device discriminatory.........35 for both?!?!?

LGgeek says:

There isn't anything that compelling on NYT that I would pay $20 a month.. oh wait you don't even get that break. I think most of these digital ventures will fail as they are still using the old print model for pricing. the daily is/was free but the content was so stupid you couldn't pay me to have it on my ipad.

RalphT says:

Are you kidding? <$10 maybe, and it has to be device independent. Are they going to charge me more for an iMac v. a netbook? For the exact same content. Get a clue NYT or you will wither away like other old media.

Charles says:

If you buy their print version you get access to their online content. Since paying for the print version for students is cheaper ( $2.70 a week ). I did that instead of paying that crazy pricing they have. I suggest most of you do the same since they don't ask you for your student email address. Although, if you could afford it just buy the regular which is $3.70 a week mon-friday and you get access to all their online content from any device you own. It just seems dumb since buying the print is cheaper, but I really just will use the online part, Its almost wasteful.

melvster says:

i'm not inherently opposed to paying for digital subscriptions for newspapers and magazines. in fact, it's print media that would make me consider an ipad. i'd love to save the paper. but this is too rich for me. and charging per device is just ridiculous. if it were $9.99/month and allowed multiple devices, i'd be much more intrigued.

Samster says:

I am not going to subscribe. I will jread no more than 20 articles. I think it pure GREED on the NYT part to charge.

Temple Saulnier says:

Hello, I do not know this. Thank you for this really good article!

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