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Posted by on Sep 29, 2009 in Media | 0 comments

What’s Going On With The Pay Model for NYTimes.com?

Maybe Schiller got out just in time. John Koblin in the NYObserver:

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, Arthur Sulzberger will host his annual “State of The Times” meeting for Times employees, which is generally a sleepy and awkward affair with lots of corporate cheerleading. (Last year, Mr. Sulzberger started the proceedings by playing a slideshow touting all of the paper’s accomplishments with Coldplay’s “Clocks” playing in the background. When the song ended, in lieu of applause, there was a deadly silence.)

But for this year’s meeting, there’s one giant and vital question Times reporters and editors have rolling around in their minds: What’s going on with the pay model for nytimes.com? […]

“In the end, I think it will come down to a gut call about what we think the audience will accept and how we think the market will evolve,” said Bill Keller to The Observer in an email. “Everybody wants it to be a well-informed, well-considered gut call, but it’s a gut call.”

Koblin quotes insiders saying that there’s no clear proposal being considered because there’s no clear consensus in the newsroom or on the Times Company Board about which way to go.

Earlier today I quoted a Newsweek interview with NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, who headed NYTimes.com until January, in which she famously said, “I am a staunch believer that people will not in large numbers pay for news content online.”

Schiller’s now completely comfortable at NPR. And when can we expect a decision on a new Times pay wall? Keller told Koblin:

“How much time? I don’t know, but I think everyone from Arthur and Janet on down would like to see us make a decision before the end of the year—if only so we can stop going to pay-model meetings.”