NYT To Start Charging In 2011

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It’s finally happened and I can only imagine the number of jaws that have just dropped.

The NYT has announced that starting in 2011, frequent visitors of the dot com will be charged after they’ve been given a handful of stories for free. Pricing wasn’t announced today, but those of you who don’t subscribe to the print edition will have to pay a flat fee for unlimited access. Those of you who do, will have unlimited access.

(More on Techland: NYT To Charge Online, Apple Content Deals Abound)

However, the Times “stressed that the amount of free access could change with time, in response to economic conditions and reader demand.” The newspaper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., had this to say about today’s announcement:

“This announcement allows us to begin the thought process that’s going to answer so many of the questions that we all care about,” Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the company chairman and publisher of the newspaper, said in an interview. “We can’t get this halfway right or three-quarters of the way right. We have to get this really, really right.”

So why will it take a year before the subscription model kicks in? It’s more of a backend issue than anything else, I think.

“There’s a lot of technical work that we need to do over the next year to get this right,” said Martin A. Nisenholtz, senior vice president for digital operations. “And I think if you were to benchmark this against other, similar implementations, you would find that a year is not excessive.”

More on Techland:

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