NY Times paid-decision agony is over, except it's just beginning: Metered access in 2011

Thanks to paidcontent.org for the fast article and Digitas for the Tweet: NYTCo. announced that the "agony" I referred to in a post below is over. Paid is coming to the online paper in 2011, with a metered model as the selected direction. Per the PR:

The new approach, referred to as the metered model, will offer users free access to a set number of articles per month and then charge users once they exceed that number.

This is a search-savvy approach, of course, allowing blogger and Tweeting humans and crawling search spiders to access some content each month, with ongoing access limited with a roadblock to fall over access after some yet-indetermined amount of content has been read.

How much will be allowed? will it differ by user? It seems that some users who are influential but don't subscribe deserve more access, while infrequents should have to pony up after just 1 or 2 stories.

What about out-of-towners, as far away as China? One of the columnists whose readership plunged under TimesSelect complained that his Chinese readers couldn't afford or weren't willing to pay the $50 annual fee.  Should IP addresses in China get a lower threshold? Maybe so.

On the tech side, how do you count?  Cookies will only get you so far, so I'm sure it will all be registration based. Those who share registrations, such as households that share a PC, will hit their thresholds twice as fast.  Will video views be included?  Hopefully they can figure out a way to remove those annoying pre-reel spots.

Overall it's probably the right approach, because it starts to recognize the suppy and demand of news access, treating stories like a scarce commodity. I only hope the Times ads deep behaviorial demographic insights as a service for advertisers, because they will now be tracking a lot more data about every user. Privacy will be an issue.


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