Times Select RIP
Posted by Allison Fine on September 21, 2007
This week The New York Times quietly put an end to their ill-conceived pay wall experiment called Times Select.
Here’s my favorite line from the email sent to subscribers from Vivian Schiller, Senior Vice President & General Manager:
Why the change?
Since we launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly open environment.
Ummm, shouldn’t the Paper of Record know that the Web was created and is now the engine of trillions of dollars of commerce and social change because it has always been and continues to be an open environment? In fact, openness is the very essence of what makes the Web so amazingly successful and revolutionary. The only people who think it wasn’t or shouldn’t be open are the same companies, like the Times, that have unsuccessfully tried erecting boundaries and barriers to the inevitable flow of information.
The palpable angst of newspapers and other publishers in the Connected Age is well known. Walk into any press room and you can feel it, the world as they knew it is gone, they’re all convinced that they’re going out of business, if not right now, today, this minute, than in two minutes, next Tuesday. Efforts to take their off line business models and slap them up online simply don’t work, it is not the same subscriber environment — you can understand that now, or create an expensive mess like Times Select and quietly declare defeat later.
My advice to newspapers and magazines (which I’m giving away for free in this open environment!): Take a deep breath and calm down! You may have to slim down a bit, we may not passively read and agree with everything you have to say, but we need good reporting. But you need to shift from thinking of us as subscribers and start to think of us as a community of readers who can add value to the news with our opinions and networks.
Eyeballs and networks beat walls and subscriptions every time.
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