The New York Times, seeking to amass more paid subscriptions in an era of non-stop, must-read headlines, is halving the number of articles available for free each month.
Starting Friday, most non-subscribers will only be able to read five articles rather than 10 before they’re asked to start paying. It’s the first change to the paywall in five years. A basic Times subscription, with unlimited access to the website and all news apps, is $15 every four weeks.
Scoops on the Trump administration’s scandals and sexual-harassment allegations in Hollywood have already contributed to a surge in Times subscriptions, which jumped 60 percent in September from a year earlier to 2.5 million. With demand for journalism “at an all-time high,” the Times decided this was the right moment to experiment with giving away less online content for free.
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[E]nticing casual readers to open their wallets raises a tricky question: Just how many free articles do you let them sample before requiring them to sign up?
The decision comes with trade-offs. By reducing the number of free articles, the Times will likely see a drop in traffic at the website, which could hurt ad revenue.
Levien said that tightening the Times’ paywall would have a “modest impact” on its digital advertising business, which increased 11 percent last quarter from a year earlier. The increase failed to offset the continued decline in print ad sales, which fell 20 percent.
Link to the rest at Bloomberg