New York Times Paywall Case Essay

2741 Words Nov 5th, 2012 11 Pages
Amanda Ferguson
Kim Jauch

Case Analysis – The New York Times Paywall
Situation
The New York Times, as well as every other newspaper and magazine around the world, is struggling to find the best way to transition from traditional print to the digital space while still maintaining a profitable business. The current solution for the largest local metropolitan newspaper in the United States is a paywall, which requires readers of online content to pay for a digital subscription in order to have access to the site after a fixed monthly allowance of 20 articles. However, this pay metered method has been tried by the most popular American newspaper website before and the question is whether or not this strategy can help The Times evolve
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The print version would only be available by mail where I live. Here's the thing: There is no other newspaper in the world which I would pay even $15 a month for access to, including the local and specialized papers that I sometimes read. The New York Times has both new interesting material, most of which they went out and investigated themselves, but also a quality of thoughtfulness which I greatly appreciate. In a sense, it makes my day, or starts it. Bottom line, this is an outlier, most newspapers or magazines are not worth much, at least not $180 a year.
The large online presence of the newspaper backs up the strengths mentioned above. According to comScore, the website is the leader of online traffic compared to other newspaper websites - the largest number of unique visitors and the largest number of page views.
In terms of weaknesses, The New York Times, as well as other newspapers, has to deal with decreases in print circulation and print ad revenues as well as increases in costs of paper and delivery services. Other known problems surround low digital revenues and a high debt burden. Specific to The Times and the use of the paywall is the alienation of current and potential customers. Also, the reputation of not being an innovator is a hindrance since the newspaper was one of the last to adopt color photography and to switch from eight to six columns.

Recommended Strategy
The recommendation is for The New York Times to

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