At 2 o’clock this afternoon, The New York Times‘s online home, nytimes.com, will begin requiring that “heavy consumers” pay to continue accessing content on the site. In order to help users acclimate to the idea, The Times will be initially offering deeply discounted subscription plans of $0.99 for the first four weeks of access. After the first month is up, users will begin paying the full amount for their subscription plan of choice.
Here’s how the three plans that The Times is offering break down:
- For $15 per month, unlimited access of nytimes.com plus unlimited access through The New York Times app for iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.
- For $20 per month, unlimited access of nytimes.com plus access Unlimited access to the New York Times apps for the iPad, the Chrome Web Store and the Times Reader 2.0.
- For $35 per month, all of the above (website access, smartphone apps and tablet apps).
All plans will be initially offered for $0.99 and all will include unlimited access to nytimes.com through mobile Web browsers (just not necessarily access through native apps). Those with print subscriptions to either The New York Times or to The International Herald Tribune will be granted full access to all digital content without having to pay any additional fees.
Non-subscribing users will be allowed to access up to 20 articles a month before being required to pay for additional access. The paywall structure does include a significant loophole of sorts: content that is accessed through blog links or social media sites won’t count against the 20-per-month limit. That means that if you’re willing to comb through Twitter for your news fix (as many of us are already in the habit of doing), you can effectively continue to get free, unlimited access to nytimes.com — just without the convenience of being able to do so directly through the site’s homepage.