How long have we been living under the looming shadow that is the threat of a New York Times‘ pay wall? The answer most likely is since TimesSelect’s fall in 2007, after the paper’s first attempt at getting online readers to pay for content.
Since then, publisher Arthur Sulzberger has made vague promises, culminating in today’s announcement of a plan to launch a metered pay model on NYTimes.com next year. It makes sense: last year saw the Times‘ hemorrhaging money (losing $35 million in the third quarter alone), and speculation that the paper wouldn’t make it to 2010.
Thankfully, Carlos Slim stepped in last year, but it still remains to be seen how the Grey Lady will make it back into the black. While alienating some readers, the metered system of content-charging that Sulzberger is planning may actually be the best compromise between giving away your product for free and going on almost total lock-down mode like the The Wall Street Journal. Under this plan, The New York Times will eventually allow you to read only a certain number of articles per month before asking you to subscribe, much like Variety or The Financial Times (although some have pointed out that the FT‘s model is looking more and more like the Journal‘s).
But even before today’s not completely unexpected announcement, media critics were chomping at the bit to react to the Times‘ possible pay plans. After the jump, a look at what some of them are saying.