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Living Can Kill You

The New York Times flirts with paid subscriptions

Rumour has it that the The New York Times is planning on doing what The Globe and Mail did (partially) four months ago: introduce a subscription fee to read it online. Unlike here in Canada, the critics are quite vocal.

Over at ABCNews.com, for example, Michael Malone devotes 1,000 words exactly to explain why paid subscriptions won�t work. And although Peggy Noonan doesn’t outright say it, she implies the same by tolling the bell for MSM (when will that horribly cute intialism die?). What they miss, and I did, too, is some people want to pay money for stuff (even if it is just to access the crossword), and not just in Canada. At least 35 smaller market American papers charge, too.

While no expert on price theory, I do know that if the Times is thinking about charging, then there’s only one thing will stop them; if the number crunchers think the Times will lose more revenue than it will gain in the long-term, there will be no paid subscription.

Newsday is suggesting an online survey sent out by the Times puts the monthly subscription fee in the range of US$13.49 to US$15.99, with the possibility of a buck-a-day pass.