What You Need to Know About the New York Times' Pay Wall

In dire financial straits, the suits at the New York Times have been, for some time, talking about erecting a pay wall that could -- executives hope -- help to bring in some new money. Readers (customers?) long accustomed to getting all of their content from the paper for free could be in for a bit of a shock. Not all of them though. Only about 15 percent of the paper's current readers access the site enough to trigger the pay wall that executives hope to put in place sometime next month, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. Are you one of them? It's still unclear how often you would need to visit the website to be considered a power user, but with more than 30 million monthly unique visitors to nytimes.com, there's 4.5 million of them. Here's what we know so far:

  • According to New York Times Co. executives, only about 15 percent of the paper's current online audience use the site enough that they would trigger a pay wall. All readers will get free access to a predetermined number of pages on the newspaper's website every month before they are prompted to join a subscription plan.
  • Readers who arrive to a particular story on the New York Times' website through a Google search -- or a search conducted through another major search engine -- will not be blocked from viewing the first page of that story regardless of how many times they have visited the site in the past. (This could change, though. Executives have said that they are going to be working with search engines in an attempt to limit how often visitors can come in through this side door.)
  • The New York Times' iPad application, which is available for free in the App Store at the moment, will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 per month once the new pay wall is erected.
  • Subscribers to the print edition of the New York Times will be able to access any of the newspaper's online offerings at no additional cost.
  • Inside sources familiar with the pay wall plan at the company have suggested that the New York Times will cost about $20 per month for a complete digital bundle, which will include unlimited access to the website and all of the content on the iPad application. A Web-only package might cost less than half that amount.