Information garnered from the Internet has long been free, or nearly free, prompting users to pay only their service providers rather than individual website proprietors, but the recession has highlighted how much luxury Internet users have enjoyed in accessing material online.
The New York Times, one of the top publications in the United States, will venture into unknown territory on March 28 when it begins charging its most avid customers for the articles they read.
While The Wall Street Journal charges its readers for specialized financial content, the Times will request payment for general news – not just the niche information that publications like the Journal provide.
Times readers will be allowed 20 free articles per month but upon opening their 21 article, they will be prompted to choose a payment plan according to the device from which they are accessing the news. Based on four week intervals, the Times will charge $15 for website and mobile application access, $25 for iPad application access and $35 for full-access authorization.
Newsrooms across the country are closing foreign bureaus, laying off staff and increasing their reliance on wire services for information that runs the risk of becoming homogenous. So it may be financially sound for the Times to charge for the services they provide.
Despite the monetary necessity, many Times readers may not follow them over this pay wall. Is the news outlet correct in charging for its general content? Is this an appropriate way to generate funds or does it alienate a less affluent readership? Would you pay the price for information?