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TimesSelect to become free?

TimesSelectThe subscription-only opinion section of the New York Time's website appears ready to lose the "subscriber-only." That's the suggestion from a Holly M. Sanders at rival publication New York Post. There are many reasons the Times would do this. But the important thing to note here is that, unlike general planning the change appears imminent:

After much internal debate, Times executives - including publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. - made the decision to end the subscription-only TimesSelect service but have yet to make an official announcement, according to a source briefed on the matter.

The timing of when TimesSelect will shut down hinges on resolving software issues associated with making the switch to a free service, the source said.

At this point, it's all conjecture, but since when would a paper publish something that they knew wasn't true? Possible reasons for the change suggested by the Post and others include:

  • People paying to read Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Thomas L. Friedman
  • The controversy of walled-off columns
  • Internal strife regarding shutting down the service
  • Maureen Dowd
  • Declining numbers of subscribers (though the drop reported doesn't that large, it definitely doesn't indicate growth)
  • Pete Cashmore suggests it's a reaction to Rupert Murdoch and the WSJ
  • People. Paying. To read Maureen Dowd

Lowering the barrier to blogging will do nothing to hurt ad sales or page views. In fact, it'll greatly increase the prominence of the columns (and columnists...such as Maureen Dowd). Plus, there's what the bloggers will do [INSERT INSIDIOUS LAUGHTER WITH THUNDER AND LIGHTNING HERE].

Until Kevin finally figures out that he hasn't deleted my login, I'll keep posting other stuff at the still-not-prettied-up WizbangTech.


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Comments (13)

I know that, "since when wo... (Below threshold)

I know that, "since when would a paper publish something that they knew wasn't true?", was a rhetorical question, but I still have to raise my hand wildly and say, "WHEN IT'S THE NY TIMES THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, that's when!"

Hmm, sounds like they're in a "Pinch". Heartbreaking, isn't it ? Their slow, agonizing deconstruction is gonna be something that I will enjoy in the coming years. Here's to the death by a thousand cuts, for the NY Crimes and all of the sycophantish scum they have engendered.

Let along paying to read Da... (Below threshold)
jim:

Let along paying to read David Brooks....

Oh, I dunno. People in mid... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Oh, I dunno. People in middle America are just dying to read humorless snark from a bitter spinster. Aren't they?

DAMMIT!! Now I'm I'm go... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

DAMMIT!! Now I'm I'm gonna have to PAY TO BLOCK Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Thomas L. Friedman???

Ok...how much? Whatever the cost, it's worth it!

I'd rather it be a pay site... (Below threshold)
Dave:

I'd rather it be a pay site so i don't have to worry about accidentally stumbling across something from NYT and slip into a mind-numbed coma from all the non-sensical drivel.

I would pay not to have to ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

I would pay not to have to read, see, or hear about NY Times ever again. What about it, Pinch?

Everybody keep looking; I k... (Below threshold)
kim:

Everybody keep looking; I know there's a good news/bad news joke in here somewhere.
=================================

You know the pay wall has h... (Below threshold)

You know the pay wall has had to hurt their readership. I can't remember how long it's been since I've seen a blog or columnist deconstructing or fisking one of their elite columnists.

Before Times Select it was a several times a month feature. Now, rarely. There was one guy at NRO who practically had a cottage industry taking down Paul Ferret Face Krugman's fantasy pieces.

That was Donald Luskin, Joh... (Below threshold)

That was Donald Luskin, John in CA, and he did a fine job. Towards the end he was taking apart nearly EVERY column Krugman put out, which I believe was a major motivation behind the Times Select pay experiment. It came at a time when paying for site access to news media was on the way OUT. Of course, the need to find some way of generating online revenue was a factor as well.

We know what they REPORT as their "subscribers," but such online services aren't subject to the Audit Bureau of Circulation scrutiny that their hard-copy sales are. I suspect they include their regular daily paper subscribers who probably got free access to Select, as well as all complimentary passes. Even if their reported figures are all paying customers, it amounts to less than $1.5 million per year - which would be great for a blog, but not much for a newspaper of their size, reach, and reputation (no matter how rapidly all are diminishing).

The bottom line is that Krugman brought their website more hits when he was being exposed as a liar and/or fool, and they see more long-term benefit in the increased exposure even if it just people pointing and laughing at them.

Also, maybe now Mo Dowd can get a date. Surely there is some blind, deaf gentleman with reduced tactile sensation out there who is not too choosy?

It occurred to me reading t... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

It occurred to me reading this post that there were more references in it to Maureen Dowd than I have seen in months.

Hilarious post, by the way. I especially liked the thunder and lightening part.

One other possible reason t... (Below threshold)
No One of Consequence:

One other possible reason that I read on another blog somewhere (don't recall where): The 2008 presidential election. NYTimes wants to make sure their columns on the elections are as widely read as possible.

I wiukd never ever read the... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

I wiukd never ever read the NYTs even for free its too darn liberal and that indicayes their desperate for subcribers

That was Donald Lu... (Below threshold)
That was Donald Luskin, John in CA, and he did a fine job. Towards the end he was taking apart nearly EVERY column Krugman put out, which I believe was a major motivation behind the Times Select pay experiment.

Yeah, I agree. Remember when Krugman wrote his piece on how Gore actually won Florida in 2000. That was after all the investigations and no one was saying Gore would have won. Krugman totally twisted every fact and somehow, in his fevered little mind, he had Gore winning Florida.

IIRC, there were multiple bloggers taking that column apart, with lots of communication with the NY Times reader rep, trying to get Ferret Face to correct the out right lies in his column. And Krugman just kept digging. And bloggers just kept deconstructing.

It was hilarious.




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