Sunday, March 20, 2011

New York Times begins digital subscriptions on March 28th

As newspapers across the country move to subscriptions for accessing online content, will free news be relegated to blogs? Or will an alternative model emerge that maintains profitability and free access?

The New York Times kicks off its pay subscriptions for online access beginning March 28th, ranging from $15 to $35 a month. Nonsubscribers will be allowed 20 articles per month and people linking to articles via search engines and social media will be allowed access, though controls will be in place to prevent these links from becoming a free subscription.

The Boston Globe can’t be far behind and, as we know, the Cape Cod Times has already moved to digital subscriptions featuring a chintzy three free articles per month, though I understand that if you’re a quick clicker, you can get around this limitation.

I hear people claim “I’ll never pay for an online subscription.” I think I remember my parents saying the same thing about television. And who would have ever considered paying for radio? (I love Sirius Radio, by the way. And for an extra $2 a month, you can listen to it on your computer as well.)

Here’s the New York Times announcement:

An important announcement from the publisher of The New York Times
Dear New York Times Reader,
Today marks a significant transition for The New York Times as we introduce digital subscriptions. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform. The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications.

This change comes in two stages. Today, we are rolling out digital subscriptions to our readers in Canada, which will enable us to fine-tune the customer experience before our global launch. On March 28, we will begin offering digital subscriptions in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

If you are a home delivery subscriber of The New York Times, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion and the rest of our rich offerings on your computer, smartphone and tablet. International Herald Tribune subscribers will also receive free access to

If you are not a home delivery subscriber, you will have free access up to a defined reading limit. If you exceed that limit, you will be asked to become a digital subscriber.

This is how it will work, and what it means for you:

• On, you can view 20 articles each month at no charge (including slide shows, videos and other features). After 20 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.

• On our smartphone and tablet apps, the Top News section will remain free of charge. For access to all other sections within the apps, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.

• The Times is offering three digital subscription packages that allow you to choose from a variety of devices (computer, smartphone, tablet). More information about these plans is available at

• Again, all New York Times home delivery subscribers will receive free access to and to all content on our apps. If you are a home delivery subscriber, go to to sign up for free access.

• Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.

• The home page at and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all users at all times.

For more information, go to

Thank you for reading The New York Times, in all its forms.


Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Publisher, The New York Times
Chairman, The New York Times Company


  1. I've gone to digital Globe and the occasional Sunday NY Times on my e reader and love it, Randy.

  2. When you're forced to pay a minimum of $15 a month, you may change your mind about the occasional Sunday NY Times.

  3. Randy, doesn't the $15.00 cover the whole month?

  4. It does, but if you take a look at the NY Times Sunday edition a couple of times a month, it would be pretty expensive per gander.

    Obviously, if you sign up for it, you would become a more frequent reader. I'm just half pulling your leg.


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