Paywalls: Newspaper's New Best Friend

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Earlier this year, the New York Times set up a paywall to limit the number of free views people could have for their online articles. Many people believed this would be a complete failure thinking people would simply refuse to pay for online articles, but the New York Times has proved those non-believers wrong.

At the end of it's third quarter, released October 20, 20ll, the Times revealed a quarter of a million readers payed at least $15 to access the online content of this paper. This shows it is possible to make a profit by implementing the paywall strategy.

This is a huge success for now just the Times, but the journalism industry as a whole. Because the Times showed they could profit off their online content, it is expected that many other media outlets will follow their lead.

The success of the paywall helps ease the mind of those who believed newspapers to be a dying entity. Newspapers are not dying, they are simply evolving with the new technologies introduced to the world.

Although the paywall has the potential to benefit the journalism industry, what does this mean for readers? If other newspapers begin to charge for their online material, will readers still be able to access those breaking stories immediately? Or will this slow down the rate at which news travels?

The way in which the paywall strategy has been implemented by the Times will help keep casual readers interacting with the online content. The Times allows each person 20 views per month before they demand their payment. This allows those who are not news enthusiasts to view the few articles that catch their attention without first having to hand over their credit cards.

With it's success at the Times, it can be predicted that many other major news companies will set up paywalls similar to this one to help raise their profits. This will enable the journalism profession to keep up to speed with the fast paced world we now all live in.

photo by DRB62 from


SarinaRhinehart October 23, 2011 at 8:59 PM  

It is great that the paywall worked for “The New York Times”, but it is realistic to believe that this business strategy will transition to smaller newspapers?

“The Times” is one of the most well-known newspapers around the world so of course there are people willing to pay for it.

If there are paywalls for all online newspapers, people will limit themselves to two or three to purchase and will not consume any other sources of news.

I think that this model works for national newspapers, but would not be affective at the city level.

Mariah K. Young October 24, 2011 at 9:56 AM  

Sarina makes a good point, but I think this may work for local newspapers as well.

When I was still in high school my grandmother would go online every other day to read about how my teams were doing. If it was going to cost her a few bucks, I know she would still check.

I think if this is the only way for people to get their local news, they would be willing to pay.

Kate October 25, 2011 at 2:37 PM  

I think people would pay to receive online local news, but you have to look at the reason that they are going online first. Is online news simply more convenient? Or are they trying to cut down on costs by going to a free news source? If that were the case, most people would just simply go without news. Smaller papers would need to put in a lot more research and thought to make this model work for them.

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