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Search Traffic Influences The New York Times To Drop Subscription Fees
Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site from the New York Times says they will stop charging some news content as of midnight. The New York Times started charging $49.95 a year or $7.95 a month for access to columns and to the newspaper’s archives about two years ago. The New York Times said they had 227,000 paying subscribers, generating about $10 million in revenue. So why the change?
Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, said:
But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising.
What wasn’t anticipated was the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others.
The searchers landed on a login box and did not proceed to the article. Although some of those users may have paid for access, the New York Times felt they were losing more ad dollars by not granting free access to that content.
According to Nielsen/NetRatings the New York Times gets about 13 million unique visitors each month. The Times has not estimated how much traffic will increase due to the change, nor did they release any estimates in projected increased ad revenue from the change.
For more coverage on this announcement, see Techmeme.