NYT plan is a long shot


Earlier this week this Gawker.com received an early version of the New York Times’ plan to implement a double-tiered “membership” plan to help right the ship.

Below is a summary of the plan:

New York Times Silver members receive ($50/year)

-    BackStory: videos of reporters explaining the facts behind the story.
-    FirstLook: a “best of” email newsletter.
-    TimesWire: a page that aggregates all of NYT’s content and updates in real-time.
-    TimesMachine: access to the paper’s archives.
-    Merchandise discounts.
-    A crossword subscription.
-    Various swag, such as a tote bag.
-    First chance to buy tickets to a lecture series.

New York Time Gold ($150/year)

-    All of Silver’s benefits.
-    Access to arts and culture events the paper covers.
-    TimesInsider: newsroom tours and chats with reporters.

While the membership plan is in its research phases, common sense would dictate that the above incentives are not enough to drive significant revenue, and to think otherwise constitutes nothing but arrogance by the Times.

All of the above “incentives” assume that the Times’ readers are so captivated with the paper that they are eager to receive a newsroom tour or to browse its archives. In reality, the large majority of the paper’s online readers have absolutely no loyalty to the New York Times as a brand.

With the above "perks," the only reason a reader has incentive to become a member, is an ideological dedication to the survival of the Times. But idealism rarely saves businesses, especially those that are so massively in debt.


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