The New York Times announced yesterday that it will begin charging for Op-Ed and news columns on NYTimes.com as part of a new online subscription called TimesSelect. For $49.95 a year or free for print subscribers, TimesSelect members will also get access to The Times archives, exclusive online multimedia (audio and photo essays, video and podcasts), a first look at some articles, and “TimesFile,” a new tool that helps readers tag and organize articles from The Times.
That seems to me to be against the wave as the trend seems to be quite different with latimes.com‘s recently deciding to end its subscription for calendarlive.com or CNN.com that will make its existing online video offerings available for free beginning June 20.
All these are happening with the statistics in mind, I suppose, as starting with January the number of NYTimes online visitors, 1.4 millions was for the first time bigger than its daily print circulation wich averaged 1,124,000 in 2004. The Times probably considered that the advertising revenues generated by the online trafic will decline less than they get from charging users.
Searchengineblog is giving an advice on this: Look, no one is going to link to summaries that you then have to pay to read further. Learn the lesson of Google – give it away! It’s the *traffic* you want. Once you have the traffic, then you can show them advertising, which in turn pays for the content.