A recent article in The New York Times explains how they are going to begin charging for consumers to have access to their online edition in 2011.
They didn’t give pricing or delve into many specifics but they at least gave us their strategy and it sounds like a good idea and, if successful, I’m sure many other cash starved newspapers will follow their lead.
The basic plan is that you will be allowed X number of articles you can read per month for free and after you hit that number you’ll be asked to pay a fee for unlimited access. That’s a good idea for several reasons. One is that it should keep their online readership numbers up and online advertisers happy. Then, over time they’ll lower and lower that number of free articles to slowly charge us more and more. No big shock to consumers or advertisers as they control the pain.
This is a much better than their previous attempt where they charged for columns written by their best editorial writers. All that did was keep us from reading their best articles.
The basic takeaway is that newspapers have hit bottom and are going to finally figure out ways to succeed economically and therefore remain an important part of local advertising for those of us concerned about retail advertising. And, we have to provide dealers with tools that will help them advertise in both the print and online editions of newspapers for many years to come. Maybe the worst is almost over for the newspaper industry. Thank goodness.