September 28, 2005

"Does the NYT have an exit strategy?"

Asks Mickey Kaus about TimesSelect, which we're all assuming has failed to bring in much money, while disastrously cutting the readership of the NYT's top columnists. What do you do about all the people who paid $49.95 for the service?

It makes me think of Woodstock, where a lot of folks paid $17 for tickets and then had to endure hearing the concert declared free. They just got stuck having paid $17 extra dollars. Me, I didn't go with my friends to Woodstock, because I didn't have $17 to buy tickets, and I had to endure hearing that I could have gotten in free. But those are the breaks. The kids who went ahead and showed up without tickets made the right call. Deal with it!

So what can the Times do? Just restructure what the $49.95 bought. Make the website free again and turn the $49.95 into a different offer: more or longer access to the archives, or a $50 credit at the NYT Store, or a discount on home delivery. Give the chumps who fell for the deal a choice of something good enough that they won't opt for a refund.

16 comments:

Simon said...

Hear is an excellent opportunity to test whether, when the NYTimes criticizes Bush's inability to admit mistakes and change course, this criticism is something to preach or something to practise.

Scipio said...

What's bad for the Times is good for America.

EddieP said...

The Times has just learned what flyover America thinks the value of their vaunted opinion writers is. They ought to recoup their losses by reducing the salaries and perks to this out of touch bunch.

Brendan said...

Who the hell is mad about this other than the most most virulent, Bush-hating leftists? Do they think conservatives miss the likes of Krugman, Herbert, Dowd, Kristof, etc?

lindsey said...

What's more likely is that they'll make the rest of the site a pay subscription, the bastards.

Pat said...

Lindsey is the closest to being right I think. If they follow the model of ESPN.com they'll start with a couple writers being pay only and slowly move to everything but the wire reports being subscriber only (of course ESPN.com doesn't have a print readership like the NYT does so maybe that model won't apply). I'd say it's far more likely that more and more becomes pay only than it is that they go back in the other direction.

Joseph Angier said...

But of course those unused Woodstock tickets are probably worth a pretty penny on e-bay.

Decklin Foster said...

Wow, some people sure do still have their knickers in a twist over these people. I wonder why that is, even when (apparently) no one is reading their columns anymore?

(I certainly do like Simon's idea, though.)

Sloanasaurus said...

It ususally takes Althous a while to post on current stuff such as the Tom Delay Indictment. However, after reading and rereading the indictment many times I am still at a loss as to what Tom delay did exactly to get indicted. It says at the beginning of the statement that Delay conspired with two other individuals to make an "illegal" campaign contribution, and then goes on to explain the facts about the other two individuals making the contribution. Delay is not mentioned in the facts. The facts don't assert that Delay knew about the contribution or aided in making the contribution. It is a very strange legal document....

The link is below. It would be interesting to hear what everyone else thinks about it.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0928051delay1.html

Charles Giacometti said...

I honestly haven't followed this very closely, but I don't see either cataclysm or great triumph for The Times here. Publishers tinker with new models all the time, and predicting how readers will respond to a given offering is not all that scientific.

Ann Althouse said...

Sloan: Don't hold your breath. I only post breaking news when I have something to add. I just have nothing to say right now.

Sloanasaurus said...

I guess you could argue that the Delay indictment asserts that he entered into an "agreement" with one of the others to commit a felony. This must be enough to allege a conspiracy, even though no facts are asserted as to how an agreement was made.

me said...

As for turning paid shows into free concerts, see Festival Express. The promoter ended up punching the Mayor of Calgary in the nose, when the Mayor suggested that the promoter shouldn't charge.

(The Dead ended up doing a free show in a park to divert the free loaders.)

Mark the Pundit said...

Today on Althouse: women ditching their bras and Woodstock!

I cannot wait to tune in tomorrow!

chuck b. said...

So, let me get this straight: there are in fact actual people who paid for Times Select? And they deserve... consideration? Really?

SippicanCottage said...

Is Mo Dowd standing on the corner yet with a sign that reads:
"Will Hate George Bush for Food"?