A report in the New York Post (of all places) says the New York Times plans to stop charging Internet users $8/month to access TimesSelect, an area of its Web site which features Op-Ed pieces, columnists, and other selected content. Citing a source who claimed to have been briefed on the decision, the timin of the changeover depends largely on the technical issues involved in managing TimesSelect and transitioning that content out of its current locked garden.
TimesSelect is accessible to both subscribers to the print edition of the paper, as well as Web-only subscribers. According to recent figures, the TimesSelect online service has about 220,000 paid subscribers.
Since 2005, The New York Times hs bucked the industry trend among newpaper Web sites, opting to lock away its content and charge subscribers for access, rather than offering the content for free and attempting to earn money from advertising revenue. Despite a subscriber-only approach, though, sanctioned but not-exactly-publicized means of access archived New York Times content continued to be available. The subscriber-only approach engendered criticism from many Times subscribers, as well as from its own editorial staff.