So the New York Times have launched a paywall. While this may come as a surprise to some, I find their pricing structure perplexing and awkward at best.
Let me first establish that I’m a proponent of paying for quality journalism. I absolutely am cognizant of the fact that quality in-depth authoritative journalism takes large amounts of resources and time, as well as those people need to be paid for the work they do. As I writer myself I appreciate that fact and I think more people should be paid for their writing.
What strikes me as odd though is their pricing plans. First of all, let’s look at what they’re offering:
NYTIMES.COM + SMARTPHONE APP
Unlimited access to NYTimes.com and the NYTimes smartphone app. $15 every four weeks
NYTIMES.COM + TABLET APP
Unlimited access to NYTimes.com and the NYTimes tablet app. $20 every four weeks
ALL DIGITAL ACCESS
Unlimited access to NYTimes.com and the NYTimes tablet and smartphone apps. $35 every four weeks
So let’s say I take the top plan at $35 every four weeks (which strikes me as an odd payment schedule instead of “monthly”), that works out to more or less $420 per year.
This is a ton of money, considering that A) their iPhone and even iPad app have been known to be of the less reliable kind. Also, as far as I can tell you still get ads no matter how you prefer to browse their content.
This strikes me as nickel and diming the user and it means that I will look to other news sources instead. Why can’t they just stick with one simplified subscription plan?
Here’s how I would structure it:
ALL DIGITAL ACCESS
Unlimited ad-free access to NYTimes.com and the NYTimes tablet and smartphone apps. $10 per month
Doesn’t that seem like a much more reasonable fee? Think about it. If they take a less greedy approach, as a reader I’m far more likely to become a loyal subscriber because I see the value in the offer and content.
You are far more likely to gain mass amounts of new paid subscribers this way. Charge less and offer more, but you’re bound to make up the bottom line in sheer numbers. Haven’t they learned anything from Apple’s App Store ecosystem?