It’s been almost a year since the New York Times (NYT) initially introduced their new ‘pay wall’ business model to its readers, and yet here I sit in ARTS2090 reading about it as if it was only introduced yesterday. I believe that I must begin with a basic definition of the ‘paywall’ just to ensure that everyone is on the same page. In simple terms, it is pretty much getting subscribers to pay for the newspapers online content. What NYT does differently however, is that it offers some of its articles online for free, as an incentive for readers, and then includes sections of the online newspaper in which the reader is ‘blocked’ and then has to pay to access the additional material.
You see, when NYT introduced this new mode for publishing, it sparked (unsurprisingly) a large amount of criticism. The critics, namely Alan Rusbridger, claimed in simple terms, that if the newspaper was to continue this sort of tactic, it would essentially ‘remove the industry from a digital revolution which is allowing news organisations to engage with their readers more than ever before’. The critics perceived this tactic as a selfish act by which if continued would ‘only hurt newspapers further’, due to its ability to inhibit connectivity. What the critics I guess are failing to understand here, is that newspapers have, during their entire existence been a physical product in which people need to pay for, so why should all this change because its mode of publishing has changed from a physical form to an online form? I mean the fact that NYT is offering free content at all should be commended, not looked down upon. In the words of Felix Salmon from wired.com, this decision has shown NYT to treat its readers as mature and civilised adults, as quite simply, paying for something you value, even if you don’t have to is a mark of a civilised society.
Also! I don’t know if you guys are interested, but I found this bloggers perspective of the pay wall, check it out and let me know what you think 🙂