After months of rumors, YouTube has rolled out 53 paid channels on the video-sharing site. One highlight is the Jim Henson Family TV channel, which includes full episodes of “Fraggle Rock.”
Would you be willing to pay to watch content on YouTube? According to Jason Del Rey of AdAge, the video site is preparing to introduce paid subscriptions on select channels as early as the second quarter of 2013.
The Huffington Post Media Group announced Friday that it became the latest online news source to implement a paywall — a very, very selective paywall, applying only to employees of The New York Times and residents of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Improbable? Naturally: Check your calendar.
The New York Times finally announced the details for its paywall, which will take effect March 28.
Users will be able to read 20 articles per month free-of-charge, after which they can pay $15 per month for access to the website, $20 for the Web and an iPad app, and $35 for access via all digital platforms. Home-delivery subscribers will receive free access to all platforms except e-readers (Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook).
Visits through search engines or social-networking sites will not count toward the 20-article monthly limit, but there will be a cap of five articles per day via Google.
The Times added that the paywall will be enacted immediately for users in Canada, to allow it to test operations and handle software issues before March 28.
The previously announced paywall at The Dallas Morning News will take effect Tuesday, and Pegasus News founder Mike Orren posted the email to the newspaper’s staff from publisher Jim Moroney on his blog. Highlights:
Among major metro newspapers, beginning tomorrow, we are boldly going where others have yet to go. We have some people cheering us on. They want to see this work. If it does, it will be an important strategic marker for publishers. And as I have written previously, there are others who think what we are doing is [sic] fool hearty … and that’s a polite way of describing their sentiments.
So why, beginning tomorrow, are we going to require a subscription to access much of the content we originate and distribute digitally? The reason is straightforward: Online advertising rates are insufficient at the scale of traffic generated by metro newspaper Web sites to support the businesses they operate. We need to find additional and meaningful sources of revenue to sustain our profitability as we journey further into the digital marketplace.
“The pay model for NYTimes.com is in the final testing phase, and we expect it will launch shortly,” The New York Times Co. president and CEO Janet L. Robinson announced in a press release prior to the company’s presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.
Speaking about other New York Times matters, she added:
The improvement in print advertising trends that we began to see in late January continued into February, and we finished the month with print advertising revenues down in the low-single-digits. Similar to January, digital advertising revenues in February were up in the mid-single-digits, as solid growth at the News Media Group was partially offset by softness at the About Group.
We continue to expect circulation revenues in the first quarter to decrease in line with the declines we experienced in the second half of 2010. While we continue to aggressively manage our costs, we expect operating expenses in the first quarter to increase 1-2 percent, mainly due to higher newsprint prices, pension expense, and promotion costs.
The paywall is slated to be implemented by March, and remaining issues include how the system will determine who must pay and at which point the paywall takes effect, according to Bloomberg.
One potential hiccup, according to Bloomberg: The Times plans to charge users after they have viewed a certain number of stories, but those directed to the site from social networks such as Facebook can view unlimited stories.
Times spokesman Robert Christie told Bloomberg the issues are “routine,” adding, “This is a massive, massive technical undertaking.”
And Silver Spring, Md.-based newspaper consultant and analyst John Morton told Bloomberg, “The Times‘ Web site gets a lot of visitors, and they don’t want to drive those people away. Everybody is watching them to see how they do it.”
At a conference in Munich, Germany, last week, The New York Times Co. chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said, “We believe that enough people will pay, but we will not cut ourselves off from the rest.”
When The New York Times officially implements its paywall early this year, the monthly cost will be less than the $19.99 charge for a subscription to the newspaper on Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, a source told Bloomberg.
President Scott Heekin-Canedy had said last month that the cost for full access to the Times‘ Web site would be comparable to that of a Kindle subscription, according to Bloomberg.
Print subscribers will receive full online access, and Bloomberg reported that print subscriptions to the Times cost $11.70 per week, or roughly $50 per month.
As previously reported on WebNewser, The Dallas Morning News announced plans last week to erect a paywall, which will be in place Jan. 18 but really take effect Feb. 15, and publisher Jim Moroney admitted that he saw the move as a gamble in an interview with Justin Ellis for Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab.
Jim Romenesko at Poynter obtained Moroney’s Jan. 4 email to staff about the paywall. Highlights, via Poynter:
Our Subscriber Content initiative that we are announcing today includes the news that in February, we will begin to require nonsubscribers to pay for most of the news, sports, and information our newsroom originates and distributes digitally each day.
So brace yourself. We will be vilified by the digital futurists, ridiculed by colleagues in our industry, and fitted with a dunce cap by the trade media. In fact, some of the same will be heard in our own hallways. Much like our 40 percent increase in home-delivery pricing in 2009, this strategy goes against the grain. But that’s OK. We’ve been there before.
The Dallas Morning News publisher Jim Moroney spoke with Justin Ellis at Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab about the A.H. Belo-owned newspaper’s decision to erect a paywall, admitting that the move represents a gamble. Moroney told Ellis:
This is a big risk — I’m not confident we’re going to succeed. But we’ve got to try something. We’ve got to try different things. It’s not an over-the-cliff strategy. If this works, great, it’ll be fantastic. If it doesn’t, we can go back to providing access at a lower price or free.
I don’t see impression-based advertising, the thing that paid bills for newspapers for so long, as supportable in the long run for a newspaper.
I don’t think we can wait. The business has enough uncertainty around it.