A new paywall starting on March 28th has been announced by the New York Times for its digital content criticized for expensive and at the same time confusing mobile-device pricing structures. The NYT has begun e-mailing its regular users of the web portal with an offer of a free subscription, for a year, to the web in accordance to their choice of the mobile version. The information comes from The Loop. The offer refers to the iPhone and iPad editions, with different subscription rates, and leaves out at least one key feature. E-readers like the Kindle are excluded from this offer.
Starting at the end of March, readers are supposed to pay a $15 fee every four weeks in order to get access to the full content of the NYT website together with access granted through a smartphone application. This means a total fee of $195 for a whole year. Customers owning an iPad will be charged a $20 fee every four weeks for getting web and iPad access, as the NYT iPad application is said to incorporate supplementary features versus the smartphone version. This makes a total of $260 per year. Customers who want to access the NYT on all their devices will be charged $455 per year.
Costs for the subscribers of the paper edition, with “all devices” access included for the digital edition, are considerably more expensive. A seven-day home delivery is priced at $680 for the first year and $770 starting with the second one. What is peculiar is the difference between the lowest-cost paper subscription, which includes the “weekday only” version, but also the all-devices digital subscription, and the digital-only subscription. While the former is priced at $340 a year, the latter is by far more expensive.
The year-long digital subscription, offered to regular NYT website readers free of charge, is sponsored by car manufacturer Lincoln. It excludes access to the NYT on e-reader devices and also leaves out applications like the NYT Crossword or Premium Crossword. The NYT iPad and iPhone applications are free, but they currently offer only limited content and will also require subscriptions starting on March 28th.