InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman is absolutely right in asserting that the NYT’s introduction of it’s tiered paywall is a necessary development, but that the media giant has gotten its price structures horribly confused, and, as a result, the unhappy experiment will probably fail miserably (again).
While continuing to provide the anonymous masses unfettered free access to whatever NYT content they stumble upon while grazing Twitter or Facebook feeds, The Times will punish readers who have chosen to habitually consume the news on mobile devices by forcing them to pay not for accessing the content, but for each device that will access it.
I’ve long awaited the introduction of the paywall: After-all, content isn’t free, and I’m happy to do my part in diminishing the spiral of respected institutions of journalism into a grab-bag-giveaway of “user generated” reporting.
Essentially, the price structure is such that you pay one fee to access the site through the web, another to access on an iPhone, another to access on the iPad, and another yet (equivalent, I’d add, to more than I used to pay for a print subscription) to access the content on both an iPhone, an iPad and the web. Because there are two iPad readers of the NYTs in my house, it looks likely that two separate subscriptions would be required. Not only does this seem overly complicated, but it punishes precisely those who The Times should be welcoming as early adopters of new media – people who are very much aware that while good journalism is a highly valuable commodity, digital distribution is not.