There has long been friction between the traditional old media providers which include print and television, and new media information sources which are overwhelmingly Internet based.

If you look deep enough you can find some basic philosophical differences between the ways old media and new media approach information flow. Old media has traditionally provided information to folks who were willing to buy access to it. That access might be in the form of a magazine or newspaper subscription. Or that access might be purchased via a cable television package where some of that subscription money is passed on to the TV network supplying the cable company with content.

On the internet typically access to new media information is generally more freely available. It is closer to a radio model where the information is broadcast and the business supplying the information makes its money via advertising.

Where it gets interesting (and frustrating for some of us) is when old media providers apply traditional models to their forays into the new media realm.

New York Times LogoOne example is the New York Times. Roughly two years ago they launched their Times Select online service with much fanfare.

For a little under $8 a month or $50 a year you could get access to current op-eds and syndicated columns, and do special things like explore the NYT archives back to 1851 (but you could only access 100 articles a month or some such). Times Select IconArticles that were part of that service were annotated with a special orange ‘T’. I guess that was to make to make the readers feel special.

Well today this headline caught my eye:

New York Times to end paid Internet service

It seems even the venerable New York Times has finally figured out that hiding their content behind a subscription barrier is costing them money.

By allowing anyone access to their content they will are sure to get significantly more page views. Web traffic equals eyes on the page. And anytime you can produce a bunch of eyes looking in one place, advertisers are eager to pay a premium to put their add in that spot.

And that, my friends is a recipe for a sound revenue model.

Content X Traffic = Advertising Revenue Potential

Not only that, but the New York Times has determined that that model will be more profitable than hiding their content behind a subscription barrier. Kudos to the NYT!


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