That’s the way The New York Times wants it. Readers will have to pay to read its columnists and op-ed articles online. They will have to pay a whopping annual fee of $49.95. The online subscription service is scheduled to start in September. Sigh, no more dekkos for free at Maureen Dowd (left), Paul Krugman and Nicholas Kristof. What a pity.
The news appeared in NYT last week but I saw it only now when it popped up in The RSS Weblog. I certainly did not see the news in any of the NYT feeds I have been getting through My Yahoo, but there it was in The RSS Weblog feed. The Los Angeles Times online subscription service bombed and was terminated two weeks ago, but NYT may fare better. ( I hope it doesn’t). NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr defended the decision, saying: "This is going to help sustain the quality of the information that we make available." But as a Washington Post executive quoted in the NYT report said "there haven’t really been a lot of successful (online) ventures". (That’s what I like about NYT; it quotes the opposition even when it takes a stand.)
Even if NYT’s online subscription service takes off, it’s bound to lose traffic. It won’t have the same impact it has now. Just look at The Times and The Guardian. They may boast equally impressive newspaper circulation figures. But The Guardian is far ahead on the Net because it is free.