It’s About Times (Select)

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While the matter of whether newspapers and other media outlets should charge for Internet content will never be settled, I’ve always found TimesSelect, the paywall that allows only paid online or print subscribers to access certain New York Times content, to be a penny-wise-pound-foolish affront.

While I have continued to buy the dead-tree edition of the Sunday Times, which has been a part of my life since I was a child, it didn’t take long before I no longer missed the op-ed columnists and other special features that hid behind the paywall the other six days of the week.

My experience seems to be fairly typical, because the New York Post reports (drum roll please!) that Times editors are thisclose to abandoning TimesSelect.

More here.

Meanwhile, Ed Morrissey’s take on this development in the making speaks volumes:

“TimesSelect belongs to a bygone era of gatekeeping that had become obsolete even before (Publisher) Pinch (Sulzberger) pinched off readership of his star columnists. It practically served as a monument to the Times’ sclerotic management. Hiding these columnists behind the Firewall of Sanity may have served a noble purpose in elevating the debate, but irrelevance became the chief consequence of the service. Without access to the opinion columns, no one cared any longer what the Times’ writers had to say.

“Now they want to free their stable of columnists from irrelevance. Perhaps it will help generate more readership for these writers, but I suspect that most people have found other columnists to put on their regular-read list. The Times will have to work pretty hard — and spend lots of money — to market these columnists to on-line readers who passed on paying $50 two years ago.

“When will the Sulzberger family trust start to rethink the Pinch regime, anyway?”

6 Comments

  1. “the New York Post reports (drum roll please!) that Times editors are thisclose to abandoning TimesSelect.”
    Hear, hear! At least some good news!
    This would be great. I prefer the news stories of the gray lady (hehe, naturally, right?), but that I couldn’t get to the opinions and the more detailed reports annoyed me. So I usually read WaPo first, even though it has become too conservative for my liking. The LAT seems to be in total turmoil right now (understably so) and isn’t a vlaid alternative right now.

    Again, great news1 I hope this isn’t just a rumour by competing NYP intended to drive revenue from Times Select down, though.

  2. The Select paywall was all about greed. It took a newspaper losing readership and exacerbated the situation. Many regular articles are also behind this “Green Curtain”. The Internets is expensive enough, who can live with dial up, most sites kill that option(TMV and the widgets). The Daily Star in Beirut has the better model, paygo for archived material. Archiving is expensive to maintain, current material isn’t free, look at all the advertising(even at TMV). I’ve migrated to open source browsers, love AdBlockerPlus, faster load and almost zero ads.

  3. “The Select paywall was all about greed.”
    I wouldn’t go that far, Comrade Rudi. It was a normal, capitalistic business decision. A total snafu, just like it happens every day somewhere.
    :D

  4. “I’ve migrated to open source browsers, love AdBlockerPlus, faster load and almost zero ads.”
    I block Flash and Java, but not the ad pictures. Maybe surprisingly, and contrary to Steck’s opinion, I don’t want to ruin TMV.
    ;-)

  5. Gray – Some of the JS is necassary. Next step is Greasemonkey or my own JS to block the Wingnuts in comments.
    ;-P

  6. “Gray – Some of the JS is necassary.”
    I know, my statement was misleading. In fact, I allow Java for TMV, but block it for all linked ad domains by using ‘noscript’ for firefox. Good luck for building your own censor engine, comrade Rudi! Peace.
    :D

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