We Used to Charge Extra for that…

Brett Arends writes in the Boston Herald about the NY Times vaunted “Times Select,” where people pay extra to read the big name columnists like Friedman, Krugman and Dowd.

There are 482,000 who have signed up for the service so far. “However, the paper further admits that 62 percent of those users get the service for free, because they already subscribe to the print version of the newspaper. In other words, only the other 183,000 users are willing to pay $50 a year to read the likes of Friedman, Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman, online.

Total visitors to the Times Web site last month: 11.9 million, according to the latest Nielsen survey. Clearly there is huge demand for the paper’s news. But just 1.5 percent of those visitors, or 1 in 65, are willing to fork over extra money to read the columns online. One in 65.”

I got into thinking about this because today the Boston Herald announced they’ve abandoned charging extra to read their columnists. I love reading Howie Carr, now I can do it without having to pull out a credit card.

The other big newspaper news is that the Daily Hampshire Gazette is switching to morning delivery in September. Wow! That makes sense, as much as it will change the lives of the editors and reporters who will no longer be home for dinner.