2011/03/24

Some readers will get around paywall: NY Times

NEW YORK, March 23, 2011 (AFP) - The publisher of The New York Times said Wednesday that some people will manage to find ways around paying for the newspaper online but they will mostly be teenagers and the unemployed.

"We did create something purposely porous," Arthur Sulzberger said of the system being implemented by the Times to begin charging readers next week for full access to NYTimes.com.

"Can people go around the system?" Sulzberger asked during an appearance at The Paley Center for Media here. "The answer is yes. There are going to be ways.

"Just as if you run down Sixth Avenue right now and you pass a newsstand and grab the paper and keep running you can actually get the Times free," he said.

"We have to accept that. Is it going easy? No. Is it going to be done by the kind of people who buy the quality news and opinion of the New York Times?

"We don't think so," he said.

"It'll be mostly high school kids and people out of work," Sulzberger said, before adding "I can't believe I said that."

The Times will offer readers 20 free articles a month at NYTimes.com before they will be asked to sign on to one of three digital subscription plans that cost from $15 to $35 a month.

Web users who find articles through links from Internet search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles even after reaching their monthly reading limit.

There will be a five-article a day limit of free links to articles to readers who visit NYTimes.com from Google or Microsoft's Bing.

Sulzberger said he believed the Times plan to charge online would work because "unfortunately quality journalism is less and less out there."

"There are fewer and fewer news organizations that have foreign correspondents," he said. "There are fewer and fewer that have national correspondents."

"We have more foreign bureaus than ever in our history," he said of the Times. "We have more national bureaus, probably, than ever in our history as well."

Sulzberger also said print was not going away anytime soon. "All of us think that print has very long legs, longer than people expect," he said.