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21 Apr 2011 14:23


Biz: Running the NYT paywall has higher cost than you might expect

  • $13 million to run the New York Times paywall in 2011 source
  • » This is a hefty figure. And it’s not the whole enchilada — the Times spent a lot getting it together, on top of the incremental costs involved. But it doesn’t necessarily spell problems for the new system — the Times has netted about 100,000 digital subscribers since instituting the paywall, reportedly enough to break even on the operating costs after the first quarter of 2011. That said, we suspect not many casual observers expected this high a cost would be absorbed simply to keep up the paywall, and having the spoils of your first 100,000 subscribers be a financial wash is something we doubt the Times relishes. But we think people need to give this time.

22 Mar 2011 11:23


Politics: New York Times writes puff piece about their paywall model

  • Some of them even send us checks unsolicited. I have this woman in Canada who’s sent me two $50 checks because she doesn’t understand why she can get our journalism for free. Each time I have to tell her I can’t accept the check.
  • New York Times Corp. Chief Advertising Officer Denise Warren • Discussing the NYT’s paywall plan, which hits around the end of the month. Hey, Denise, if you guys won’t take the money, we’ll put it straight in our pockets! In all seriousness, though, read the piece — it does a great job explaining the mindset of the NYT as they decided to try the paywall model once again. Key thing? Ad money in print is falling, and online isn’t keeping up. source

02 Nov 2010 10:45


Biz: Rupert Murdoch’s paywall test doing (slightly) better than expected

  • 105k number of subscribers the Times of London has for its paywall-enforced Web sites
  • 100k number of print subscribers who also get online subscriptions as part of the deal
  • 42% the decline in the paper’s online traffic, which is much less than the 90 percent estimated source
  • » So is it a success? Depends on your definition of success. While the paper certainly is doing better than other strict paywall models (looking at you Newsday, which we did a whole tongue-in-cheek series on a while back), it isn’t exactly killing it. What the 105,000 number doesn’t tell you is that only half of those subscribers are regular readers – which, for a paper of its size, is kinda low. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the New York Times goes paywall starting next year.

09 Apr 2010 15:09


Biz: We’re gonna use this post to link to the Nikkei’s home page

  • Why? Because they say we can’t. The Japanese business newspaper is following the lead of a lot of newspapers worldwide by adding a paywall, but their paywall is way beyond that of, say, the Wall Street Journal. First, you have to submit a written application to link to the site (which we didn’t do). And second, they’ve gone and disabled the copy function on their site. Why? Because they’ve seen American papers open the floodgates and lose readership as a result. source

12 Feb 2010 15:30


Biz: The adventures of Newsday Customer No. 36: Now they want money?

  • What a convoluted system. For a week, we told you about our trials and travails regarding Newsday’s subscription advertising. We got bored of making fun of them admittedly (and tired of the useless “news alerts” that felt like vectors to send ads to us more than actual news alerts), but now they’ve actually given us some ammo.
  • Shoddy service Today, they finally sent us an e-mail, two and a half weeks after we signed up, asking for money, with full details of the process. Nobody ever called us or asked us about it. If Newsday wanted our service, they would call us first.
  • pay all at once? We definitely don’t like the $40/every two months setup, instead of just subscribing for a week just to try it. So yeah, we’re not signing up for this. It’s seemingly designed to discourage you from subscribing to Newsday.
  • Our advice to newsday Paywalls can work, but your all-or-nothing paywall system seems broken. There’s no online component at all. Also, people outside of Long Island are interested in what happens in Long Island. Consider that, guys.

A final tally of our Newsday adventures

  • 17 days it took for Newsday to decide to charge us
  • 17 number of text-message updates we got from Newsday; nearly all of them had ads as long as the news itself
  • six of the updates said “Officials: 5 killed, 12 injured in Conn. power plant blast” (spread out over two days)
  • 4-5 number of e-mail updates we’ve been getting from Newsday each day, and they’re kinda annoying

01 Feb 2010 09:50


Biz: The Adventures of Newsday Customer No. 36: Still no bill, kids

  • This photo turns Long Island into a cliche the way “Fargo” turned Minnesota into one. Can you guess what the story’s about? (Hint: It’s got to do with the kid.) Man, the only image more cliche than this we could think of is perhaps a picture of the Seaver family from Growing Pains – you know, before Kirk Cameron went off the deep end. Anyway, we’ve been with the site nearly a week, haven’t paid yet, and get the feeling that the paper is not offering anything close to the $5/week price tag, a price tag that’s supposed to be a deterrent to guys like us signing up outsides of the confines of Cablevision’s walled garden. Unimpressed. (Note: This article is behind a paywall, but maybe it’ll give you enough of a hint to tell you what it’s about.) source

29 Jan 2010 14:40


Biz: The Adventures of Newsday Customer No. 36: Quick, kinda useless

  • We understand what Newsday is trying to do with its “Quick Read” format on its $4 million, paywall-ridden site, but the implementation is weak. We say that as warriors of the quick-read information format. We’re like Mel Gibson in the first “Mad Max.” Newsday’s implementation is just flashy, like Tina Turner in “Beyond Thunderdome.” How does a giant image with the lead of a story and a giant photo constitute a “quick read”? There’s no bullet points. There’s no attempt to contextualize the information. It’s just an entryway into another page with another ad – something that the quick read format has a lot of, by the way. Oh yeah, one thing we want to mention: We’ve been subscribers of for three days now, and we’ve yet to be contacted by anyone about paying for our $5/week subscription. source

28 Jan 2010 22:59


Biz: The Adventures of Newsday Customer No. 36: Robo-trippin’

  • Newsday breaking news Officials seek more cash to house sex offenders  *Introducing New Robitussin(R) To Go!
  • A text message from the Newsday paywall text alert service • Regarding news that’s apparently important enough to send us a text message about. The news itself? Relatively important (whether or not it’s breaking is questionable). What weirds us out, though, is the ad. You have three sentences to break news about something – news we’re paying for – and one of the sentences is a Robitussin ad? (We couldn’t get the link to work, by the way.) We specifically asked not to get offers. This seems sneaky. We were all about to write something positive about their site which is actually useful and worth paying for, and then they had to send us this. Newsday fail. (Note: The link to the article is behind a paywall, and we’re linking to it anyway just so you, too, feel the pain of hitting a paywall. It hurts almost as much as running into a real one.) source

28 Jan 2010 02:00


Biz: The Adventures of Newsday Customer No. 36: This is breaking?

  • In our first piece of breaking news from Newsday since our $5-a-week paywall infiltration subscription began, we’re informed that a redhead who likes science and his classmates are going to compete for some national award sponsored by Intel. The kids are up for awards of up to $100,000, which is cool. Good luck, guys, but we’re seriously spending $5 a week on this crap? How is this even remotely breaking? There’s nothing heady about it. (BTW, if you want to read the story, you’ll have to subscribe. Them’s the breaks of a paywall.) source

26 Jan 2010 23:26


Biz: Newsday: Cablevision officially doesn’t know how to run a newspaper

  • $635M the amount Cablevision paid for Newsday, the first newspaper the company’s ever owned
  • three the number of months Newsday has been behind a strict $5-a-week paywall
  • 35 the number of subscribers the site has; hahahahahahahah wtf these guys suck source