In a move that may change the landscape of how media organizations make money online, the New York Times is finalizing its plans to charge readers for online content, basing its pay model on sites like Consumer Reports and WeightWatchers, not traditional media websites, according to a Reuters report.
The Times is learning that you can't afford to create quality content and then give it away for free. The problem they face is that what the Times publishes isn't very unique ... you can find similar information on hundreds of other websites.
I like the Times' ingenuity when it comes to creating a separate model and I'm curious to see how this plan works out. The big concern I still have is how information from a site like WeightWatchers or Consumer Reports is valued - as a commodity. Those sites have a very specific, and often very motivated audience. Presumably, there is a clear end-goal attached to purchasing more or "better" information (lose weight, save money, etc. [or teach a better class :)]) The Times will need to make sure its online readers perceive its news content in the same way - required for a deeper understanding. There needs to be incentive and readers will also need to believe that they absolutely cannot get the same kind of information anywhere else.
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