TRB vs Jeff Jarvis on the New York Times Decision to Charge

I’m a big fan of Jeff Jarvis and his blog Buzz Machine and I tend to agree with a lot of what he has to say in his coverage of the media biz, but I think he’s got the New York Times decision to charge readers a bit wrong.

He lays out a good case about why their system of metering is backwards (charging the most loyal, repeat readers the most) but then goes a bit off the rails when laying out the case for why they’re charging.

I’ll (attempt to) refute this rationale point-by-point (I’m in italics)…

From Buzz Machine:

So why would The Times charge? There are a few possible reasons:

* It has failed at advertising, as I said of News Corp. recently.

it has not totally failed in advertising, in fact they are selling out the “front page” quite often, its just that online ads haven’t recouped costs yet.

* Its costs are too high — and rather than cutting them into a rational business, it desperately seeks some other revenue.

its costs are high, but let’s not pretend the Times hasn’t been cutting back substantially along with everyone else in newspaperland.  I know the names of more ex-staffers than current ones.

* It is falling prey to PR, to the pressure of outsiders who keep nattering on about charging.

actually, I don’t believe it’s PR they are paying attention to, rather the positive example set by the FT, their British counterpart, which currently boasts a somewhat successful conversion to a paid model.

* It has forgotten its own lessons with TimesSelect sees amnesia as a strategy.

to bring up TimesSelect at this point is kind of like saying Coca Cola shouldn’t innovate new soft drinks because of the New Coke s%$#-show.  A lot has changed and evolved since TimesSelect.


Why do I think they’ve finally decided to charge then, if not for the reasons above?  Maybe a few of the Ochs-Sulzberger clan just saw the new HBO update of Grey Gardens and they’ve determined not to go out like Big and Little Edith Beale, living off a shrinking trust account while playing host to stray cats and raccoons in their crumbling mansions, shoveling ice cream into their inheritance-dependent rictus masks.  OK, that was a bit much, I’d say its probably because of the FT example I cited above.

Anyway, I love getting the Times content for free, but frankly, I would pay reasonably for it if I have to, it really is the paper of record, even online.

While I agree with Jarvis on the metering mess (which I predict they will not adopt), I don’t begrudge the Times its right to get money.  When you’re the best at something, you really ought to be paid something for it, even if you lose a few customers who got used to taking advantage of your greatness for nothing.

Jeff, I’m really outside my sandbox on this topic, so if I’ve missed anything, feel free to point it out.


The Cockeyed Economics of Metering (Buzz Machine)


This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

Wealthcast Media, an affiliate of Ritholtz Wealth Management, receives payment from various entities for advertisements in affiliated podcasts, blogs and emails. Inclusion of such advertisements does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation thereof, or any affiliation therewith, by the Content Creator or by Ritholtz Wealth Management or any of its employees. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. For additional advertisement disclaimers see here:

Please see disclosures here.

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. is bitcoin loophole legit? commented on Sep 21

    … [Trackback]

    […] Info on that Topic: […]

  2. bitcoin loophole review commented on Sep 28

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information on that Topic: […]

  3. Stump Grinding near me commented on Dec 11

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More to that Topic: […]

  4. Azure DevOps commented on Dec 18

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More to that Topic: […]

  5. 5d diamond painting commented on Dec 29

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on that Topic: […]

  6. white wig commented on Dec 29

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here to that Topic: […]

  7. bmo banking commented on Jan 13

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More to that Topic: […]

  8. regression testing commented on Jan 16

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on that Topic: […]

  9. replika rolex commented on Jan 17

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here on that Topic: […]

  10. motorcycles commented on Jan 25

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on that Topic: […]