The media world is abuzz with news that could change the way we read, well, the news. As of last week, The New York Times has started charging for online articles. Although it’s still free to read the occasional article here and there, regular daily readers will have to start paying up once they’ve read 20 free articles per month.
A panel of experts predicts that the NYT experiment won’t even last through 2012.
Should it? The Times has given away its articles for free online for years. Would you pay for online news?
20 Articles, 4 Weeks, Lots Of Rules.
Will you soon have to have money in order to know what’s going on in the world?
The whole system is terribly complicated:
- 20 free articles per month
- After the 20-article limit, you can read five extra articles per day if you find them through a search engine
- Unlimited articles if you find them all through Facebook or Twitter
- Pricing is equally complicated: ranges from about $15 to about $35 per month
- Online subscription is free if you subscribe to the actual paper
- Making things even messier, NYT bills every four weeks instead of every month
- If you sign up now, the first month is just 99 cents
Should You Jump Ship?
If you don’t want to pay, you have two options:
- Get your news elsewhere (some of our favorite free online news sources are The Los Angeles Times, NY Mag, The Week, and Bloomberg for business news)
- Hack your way past the rules with an internet workaround
Would You Subscribe To Support The Cause?
The New York Times is asking itself the same question behind Hulu’s charging for TV and movies over the internet: After a while, is free content just unsustainable?
Cost-benefit aside, some people think that subscribers will pay because of the same pay-it-forward mentality that fuels support for NPR and other cultural institutions. Do you agree?
In the words of one internet commenter: “Is this going to exacerbate the already-growing information gap between different segments of the population?” In other words, will you soon have to have money in order to know what’s going on in the world?
What do you think: Would you pay for The New York Times online? Are they asking for too much?
Image Credit: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr