TimesSelect doomed?

By Steve Outing

It appears that TimesSelect is about to die. That’s the New York Times’ premium web subscription service, which takes some of the best content on its website (like the respected op-ed columnists) and puts it behind a pay wall.

A couple years ago I wrote a cautiously optimistic column for Editor & Publisher (sorry, no link; it’s behind a paid archive wall now) about TimesSelect. I thought then that really, really good, valuable and unique content could win a large number of paid subscribers. And I believed that the model of cherry-picking the best stuff while leaving everything else as free access could work for a news organization like the Times. (I wouldn’t say the same thing for a smaller paper.)

But I’ve changed my mind. NYT’s op-ed stars (Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd, et al) are important to the paper, and no doubt what they write is valuable to the Times brand. But what’s wrong with putting them behind a paid wall is that they will never grow a new generation of younger readers, because those people won’t pay.

The Times will be smart to get the op-ed crew out from behind the wall, where their influence will expand globally, and they’ll bring new readers to the NYT brand. The Times took a hit on its influence when it hid its op-ed celebs from the masses. Sounds like company executives finally figured that out.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

One Response to "TimesSelect doomed?"

  1. Holly
    Holly 10 years ago .Reply

    Line 3 of this contest states, \"GateHouse and/or its other employees have many ideas of their own for the production of revenues, some of which may be similar to yours. An idea that is new to you may be old to Gatehouse, or similar or identical ideas may be conceived independently. Accordingly, you hereby waive any claim that GateHouse misappropriated any ideas in or portions of your submission in which Gatehouse may engage in the future.\"

    Can one assume, then, that if an employee generates the \"$50 Million Idea,\" and GateHouse upper echelon already thought of that idea, then the company ran a contest with the winning proposal already in the pocket? Sadly, this contract must be signed prior to submission, or the idea is considered defunct.

    It\'s difficult enough to trust the sinister suit on the contest\'s cover, let alone this idea that falls just shy of panhandling.

    To sum it up: THIS MAKES NO CENTS!!!

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