Thursday, September 20, 2007

TimesSelect: R.I.P.

The New York Times on Wednesday pulled the plug on its TimesSelect Web subscription program, returning parts of the online Times to entirely free status.

Although the pending action was widely reported — including in our own On the Record blog on Aug. 11 — the move came exactly two years to the day after the Times began charging $7.95 a month, or $49.95 a year, for online access to its columnists, its editorials and op-ed pieces, and its archives. Print subscribers to the Times, and some students and educators, were given free access. Paid Web site subscribers will get a prorated refund.

According to the Times’ own story of the switch:

"The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free."

This leaves the Wall Street Journal as the only major newspaper in the country to charge for access to most of its Web site. And Rupert Murdoch, the soon-to-be new owner of Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of the Journal, has talked openly about allowing the online Journal to be freely available. Yet some Dow Jones executives, including CEO Richard F. Zannino, think should be kept at least a partially paid site, according to an article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the Times has instituted a new service, MyTimes, which allows users to create their own personalized web pages on the Times’ site – with content from outside the Times’ domain. Seems like The Powers That Be at NYT have embraced the concept of aggregation.

It’s a brave new world.

-PAUL SAMUEL, Associate Editor


Will said...

Any plans for TDR to tear down its online wall?

The Daily Record said...

Not at present, but thanks for asking!