Monday, March 28, 2011

The Old Grey Lady wants some green

If you haven't been keeping up with the goings on in newspaperland and are just happily reading your daily that's delivered to your doorstep, you might be surprised to find out that things aren't going so well for them--and for print products in general. Newspaper companies have been some of the hardest hit as its scores of readers dropped their print subscription in favor of obtaining their news online. Another nail in the coffin was the latest research by Pew which has demonstrated that shift as readers under the age of 40 now read news online in greater numbers than those who like to get ink on their fingers.

In order to stop the hemorrhaging of revenues, some papers like the Wall Street Journal, have been charging consumers for their online content. The New York Times has, until today, been the one major newspaper holdout--readers have enjoyed unlimited access and perhaps, like myself, have come to rely on it. As described in their letters to readers, you'll still have access to the Times online in the form of reading 20 articles per month. After that, you'll have to pony up some $$ until the next month rolls around.

The subscription plans--which start at $15 per month--may translate into some major dollars for those of you who like to read an article on your smartphone while waiting in line at the grocery, another on your iPad at home, and another yet on your computer at work. Some bloggers have noted that the NY Times plans are far pricier than other newspaper companies, but--in a wonderful bit of irony--those of you who have stuck with the print version of the New York Times get unlimited access to the online version.

For those of us in the Boston area, you'll want to keep an eye peeled for the fall as The Boston Globe's website will follow suit will roll out a subscription plan for its website. It's an intensely interesting moment for the computing world, as the producers of content we have so long enjoyed for free and considered essential are requesting us to reach into our pockets and help pay some salaries.


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