The New York Times Goes Pay to Play.

20130626-154603.jpgWhat do you do when you are in a dying business as a print based content provider; when your reader base is shifting to all digital, and primarily mobile and tablet driven resources? In the case of the New York Times, you restrict access to your content and try to drive people back to reading your physical newspaper. Say what? Yes you read that right. Apparently the New York Times thinks this won’t drive any readers away.

Starting June 27th the New York Times is going to limit the number of articles any non-paper subscriber can read on iOS, Android and Windows powered devices. The strategy is to try and encourage readers to subscribe to the print version. If you do, you get full access to all articles on the New York Times site at no extra charge. I say good luck with that, because your readership has left the print world behind. (Doesn’t a newspaper make more money off of ads than through subscriptions anyway? Hmmmm.)

Under the new set up, non subscribers will be able to read a maximum of three articles per day, from twenty five sections of the online paper including blogs and slideshows. Once the limit has been reached, users will be asked to pay for a subscription to further access content.

Up till the 27th, readers who have not subscribed have complete freedom of the “Top News” sections. After the 27th you’ll have an increase in choices of sections, but a lessened allowance of accessible content. Video content for all areas of the site still remains available and free for all.

To ease users into this change, the publication is planning a seven day free trial run when downloading the updated version of the Android or iOS app. I’d really like to see the numbers on how this shakes out for the New York Times over the next year. I’d bet they get very few converts, and possibly lose readership overall.

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