The New York Times has finally unveiled its paywall plans, a year-plus in the making.
And with the Times’ announcement, Steve Jobs gets his first big publisher to announce it is signing on with his new subscription plan: The Times says it will sell access to the paper’s apps through iTunes, on Jobs’ new terms.
As for the packages themselves: As predicted, they hover around the $20-a-month mark, starting at $15 a month for Web + phone access, up to $35 a month for all-you-can-eat on every platform.
Crucially, the plan gives free access to all platforms for subscribers who get the Times delivered, in paper and ink format, to their homes. Those subscribers, for now, are the papers’ most treasured resource, and it wants to hang on to them for as long as it can.
Not coincidentally, the cheapest way to get the most access to the paper continues to be a print subscription, at least for new subscribers, and at least for now. (Thanks for the reminder, Ari Weinberg)
The last point is particularly interesting. The NYT is in a fantastically lucky place, in terms of being able to leverage threir literary celebrity to brazenly declare what was free suddenly off-limits, by erecting a toll booth in front of the communal trough. It takes balls, and I respect their decision, because I think they do deserve it.
But how interesting to find that part of their plan all along has been to price the digital media packages above the price of the print subscription, then make the more expensive service a ‘free feature’ of the other one!
They’ve just found the surest way to get newspapers back into houses that no one’s ever heard of. If this is just being unveiled, I imagine we’re in on the ground floor of a very cleverly designed transmedia campaign to get households back to see newspapers and especially the NYT as still relevant in the digital age.
I do think there is a market of 20 somethings that would suddenly look to getting their very own first print subscriptions…!
Kudos to NYT.