The NY Times announcing that it is moving to a paid for content / subscription model is a bold move and probably about time. Will it work? I have no idea. One thing it will answer is what is the value of their content and if anything start to bottom out the answer of what is the value to written content online. I used to think the old adage of "content is king" had lost its relevancy. The majority of the biggest sites in the UK don't have editors or even create so called content - application was king, relevancy was king, context was king ... content wasn't really up there.
I have changed my view. I recently spoke to a natioinal TV station who gave an insight into the usage of their video-on-demand service (super big), the sell through levels of the advertising (it was all sold) and the yields being achieved (I reckon they must have been getting yields 4 - 5 times that off your common gardenal natioinal newspaper site). The point being they were nailing it. The reason being it was great content. TV shows that people wanted to watch again. The thing that was raised eyebrows was the amount of archive footage that was generating plays and carrying these valaubale ads. From the ARCHIVE.
Janey L Robinson - Chief Executive of Ny Times, was using the iTunes micro payment model as proof that perhaps the market was ready to pay for content. I'll be honest I think this is perhaps a stretch too far. The nature of the contrent is very different, but it made me think of the archive word again.
My thinking is, would the creator of content archive it and would someone then come along and pay for that content. I think that this is the model at the moment, in markets where it works. Music, video, financial even porn. Succesful paid for models. Perhaps they are selling the freshness of the content of the stories - but will people pay for that? Especially with the explosion of free media services, national funded broadcasters and wire services.
The saying of "Good strategy is about sacrifice" stands here. The papers really need to think about the type of content people may pay for and for now I kind of like "The Archive Test". Fingers crossed they need a break.