After a year of internal debate, the New York Times has finally decided to charge online and has settled on a paywall style. It plans to adopt a metered system in 2011 which will permit readers to access to a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe - similar to that of the Financial Times.
The newspaper had been deliberating between three types of pay strategies, the first being a more traditional pay wall similar to that of The Wall Street Journal, in which some parts of the site are free and some subscription-only. The second option was an NPR-style membership model and the third the adopted FT metered style.
According to the press release, The NYTimes.com's paid model will not be introduced until the beginning of 2011, however, with the company using this year to "build a new online infrastructure designed to provide consumers with a frictionless experience across multiple platforms."
The reasoning behind the decision to charge for content, says Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times, is to generate revenue "to provide additional support for The New York Times' extraordinary, professional journalism," which CEO and president Janet L. Robinson confirmed: "This process of rethinking our business model has also been driven by our desire to achieve additional revenue diversity that will make us less susceptible to the inevitable economic cycles."
Once the metered model is implemented, those subscribing to the New York Times home delivery print service will continue to have free access to NYTimes.com.