The New York Times has announced that their services will go behind a paywall, however their “pay to read” model won’t go into effect until 2011. They’ve also announced that the system will include a “metered model” which will allow users to read a certain number of articles each month before any charges will be required.
New York Times Chairmen Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. voices his confidence in the companies new approach, stating:
“Our new business model is designed to provide additional support for The New York Times’ extraordinary, professional journalism. Our audiences are very loyal and we believe that our readers will pay for our award-winning digital content and services.”
Given the reputation of the New York Times they may just be able to pull off the multiple level model by providing users with access to various stories and then hooking them into a pay based model, although only time can tell if this oft-failed attempt can actually succeed.
The Times have also reported that exact details about the plans payment structure will be revealed over the next few months, which leads me to believe that specifics are still being worked out.
While the move may help the New York Times gain money from paid subscriptions, it will also more than likely kill their web authority among bloggers and other forms of new media. As Mashable’s Stan Schroeder points out, no website will want to link to an article only to get complaints from readers that their link doesn’t work, which could occur if that reader has read too many NYT articles in any given month.
With other companies, including Hollywood insider Variety going live with their own pay based models, at least the folks at the NYT will have time to determine what works and what doesn’t. If history repeats itself however, it could be a long and bumpy road for their new model.