Are You Easily Impressed? The New York Times claims 100,000 people have paid for digital subscriptions that go behind the paper’s new Maginot-like paywall. Howard Kurtz say this is “not a bad start.” Really? You’d think the Times would get most of the people who are going to subscribe right away, and that adding to that initial haul would be relatively difficult. Remember TimesSelect? That was the Times‘s early attempt to charge only for its marquee opinion writers. It was launched in September of 2005. By June of 2006 it had 175,000 exclusively-online subscribers. More than a year later, that figure had risen only a bit–to 221,000, and the Times soon pulled the plug.*
Why isn’t the paywall set to follow a similiar trajectory? Kurtz says, “If the figure triples this year, the company may have a viable business plan.” Is there any reason to think the figure will triple this year?
P.S.: Also, the 100,000 total counts those lured in by a temporary 99 cent promotion (who may bail when they are asked to pay full freight). …
P.P.S.: Speaking of unimpressive (gala premiere issue of Tina Newsweek beats Zombie Newsweek by 19% on selected newsstands).
*–Note who signed the Times’ plug-pulling letter to readers. From triumph to triumph!