The “will they, won’t they” speculation has ended – the New York Times has confirmed it will bring in a new online charging model for its website from early 2011.
The new system will ape that of the Financial Times’ website and give readers a certain number of articles free each month, after which limit they will be charged a flat fee for unlimited access.
“[E]xecutives of The New York Times Company said they could not yet answer fundamental questions about the plan, like how much it would cost or what the limit would be on free reading. They stressed that the amount of free access could change with time, in response to economic conditions and reader demand,” reports the Times’ own media section.
Print edition subscribers will receive full access to the website.
The system will be created from scratch by the Times, which looked at other charging options before settling on a ‘metered’ system.
According to Nielsen, the Times is the most popular US newspaper website in terms of traffic. Its introduction of a subscription model will be watched by other players with keen interest, particularly as this is not the first time the title has charged for online access. In 2007 it stopped its two-year-old TimesSelect service that charged for viewing editorials and columns.