New York Times Metered Model

Norm Johnston


Since the early days of the commercial Internet, publishers have struggled to balance the need to monetize their assets with the Web’s insatiable appetite for free content. Media owners have experimented with models ranging from advertising-funded free editions to various subscription-based initiatives; all of have tried to balance the need for income with advertisers demands for sufficient reach to justify spend. With this historical context in mind the New York Times finally announced their new online pay-model this week.


The New York Times (NYTimes) model is a metered model designed to maximize reach for light readers while earning subscription fees from heavy, loyal users of the service. Features include:

  • All offline subscribers of both the NYTimes and International Herald Tribune will have unlimited free access to all online content.
  • As of March 28th all non-subscribers will be able to view up to twenty articles per month for free on the paper’s Web site and applications. After twenty articles users will need to pay for additional content. However, the site’s homepage and section heads will continue to be free.
  • A sliding scale subscription service will be available depending on from what combination of sources readers would like to access content. For example, $15 gives you a four week use of and the smartphone application (e.g., iPhone); $20 gives you unlimited access but swaps the tablet applications (e.g., iPad) for the smartphone version; $35 gives you unlimited access to everything.