The New York Times has made it official: It's going to charge for access under certain conditions starting in 2011.
The model, detailed in a statement, goes like this: Users will have free access to a certain number of articles a month and then have to pay once they exceed a cap. Think of it as an article cap similar to a salary cap in sports.
The Times says the model will give the company a second revenue stream to support its ad model and also fund its journalism. Print subscribers will have free access without an article cap.
For now, the Times has to rollout a new online infrastructure to support this revenue stream. It'll have to track the number of articles people read and then make sure print subscribers won't face a gate. And the paper will have to charge you.
The model is interesting, but it's too early to judge how it will do. The Times will offer more details about the model in the months ahead. Looming questions include:
- What's the optimal article cap?
- How will users be tracked?
- Will users actually pay when they exceed the cap?
- How much revenue can this model generate?