Arthur Sulzberger has said Bloomberg’s report stating the development of the New York Times’ paywall cost between $40 million and $50 million is “vastly wrong”, but refused to say what the switch to paid digital content did cost, according to a post on paidContent.
Sulzberger also declined to offer any numbers when it comes to subscribers, saying it was too soon but that the company would provide some details eventually. At another point, asked about complaints that the pay plan is too complex, he urged people to be patient. Noting that the company was able to tweak the system between the launch in Canada and the US-global launch 10 days later, Sulzberger said: “We’re going to learn, adapt, make it simpler. But I don’t agree that it’s too complex. It’s new. Let it breathe for a little bit before you make judgment.”
Of the Times’s own pay model for its Web site, though, all that has trickled into print is an initial story 14 months ago announcing that the plan would be carried out in a year, plus occasional subsequent references to the looming event. No significant story has been published — at least not as of my Friday evening deadline for this column.
There has been plenty of excited coverage of the playground spat between the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times started by the Journal’s move into general interest metro coverage. The Journal’s news section, Greater New York, launched yesterday, and the Times war committee responded quickly with a memo to subscribers reminding them just how great the paper’s New York section is, and has been for so much longer than the Journal’s johnny-come-lately.
So far the whole thing seems, unsurprisingly, to have revolved about print, but Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk claims the war is “really about digital”.
The spat appears to be about local New York coverage, but really, it’s about both organizations’ digital future (…) By cutting ad rates and suddenly going after the same non-financial local stories as the Times, Murdoch is waging a good, old-fashioned newspaper war in the traditional sense. But the spoils this time will be the hearts and minds of a digital audience faced with far more choices than consumers of print.