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Posts Tagged ‘The Financial Times’

The Guardian‘s Editor Swipes At Pay Walls, Murdoch

theqguardian.jpgWhen Rupert Murdoch began to wage his war with news aggregators like Google, media critics called it either stupid, daring, or both. But with the long-standing debate about pay walls inevitably leading to discussion about Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal site, actions speak louder than words, and the newspaper industry has begun to fall in line behind the media mogul.

The most recent example of this would be The New York Times‘ announcement last week that it would be erecting a metered pay wall for its Web site next year. Other newspapers like The Financial Times and Newsday also charge for their sites, to differing levels of success.

But there’s at least one editor who still takes issue with both Murdoch and the concept of pay walls as they stand today: British newspaper The Guardian‘s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger spoke out yesterday, slamming both the Australian media mogul and the theory behind paying for news on the Internet.

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Critics Respond To Times‘ Pay Wall Plans

425825719_3bf95d6e86.jpgHow 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.

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Times Announces Pay Model

nyt logo.jpgAfter months of hemming and hawing The New York Times today finally announced plans for a pay model for its Web site, NYTimes.com.

The model will be a metered plan, as predicted by New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman over the weekend. Although announced today, the plan won’t go into effect until next year, the New York Times Co. said.

The metered plan will allow users to access a certain number of articles for free before being prompted to pay for additional access, much like The Financial Times‘ current model. Subscribers to the print edition will continue to have free access.

Said publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.:

“Our new business model is designed to provide additional support for The New York Times‘ extraordinary, professional journalism. Our audiences are very loyal and we believe that our readers will pay for our award-winning digital content and services.”

Full release after the jump

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Report: NYT To Start Charging For Web Content

nyt logo.jpgOver the weekend, Gabriel Sherman at New York magazine reported that The New York Times is finally close to unveiling a plan to charge readers for access to its Web site.

Sources tell Sherman that the Times could announced their model — which will be similar to that employed by The Financial Times — by the end of the month, although it won’t be implemented until sometime in the spring. Currently, the FT‘s pay wall allows registered readers to read 10 stories per month before prompting them to sign up for a tiered subscription model.

The Times has been promising to announce plans of a pay wall of some sort since the summer, but execs have been dragging their feet because of disagreement among leaders of the newsroom, Sherman said:

“In favor of a paid model were [executive editor Bill Keller] and managing editor Jill Abramson. [Digital chief Martin Nisenholtz] and former deputy managing editor Jon Landman, who was until recently in charge of nytimes.com, advocated for a free site.”

Although keeping the site free would draw more readers than a restricted pay site, media companies would be remiss if they didn’t try to monetize their online content in order to create a new stream of revenue. Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who invested in the Times last year, might also be behind the pay wall push. The New York Post reported today that Slim made an appearance on CNBC on Friday stating that he was in favor of dumping the free Web content model.

But despite the swirling rumors, the Times is staying mum. Keller declined to comment to New York‘s Daily Intel blog and spokesperson Diane McNulty said: “We’ll announce a decision when we believe that we have crafted the best possible business approach. No details till then.”

New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers –Daily Intel

‘Slim’ Times optionNew York Post

Previously: Times Keller: Within Weeks Of Decision On Pay Wall

Micropayments: Pay Walls’ Happy Medium?

cents.jpgWhen entertainment industry trade Variety decided to put its online content behind a pay wall earlier this month, it promised options for how users would go about paying. (Random selection being one of the more out there ideas we’ve heard for pay walls, but hey, everyone is trying something new.)

Other Web sites like those belonging to The Financial Times have embarked on a plan that would eventually allow users to purchase individual articles for a small fee, much like buying a song from iTunes for 99 cents instead of the whole album for $10.

Media analysts don’t necessarily agree that bringing down the price of content (even if it costs customers more money in the long run) will make potential readers take out their wallets. Jay Rosen New York University journalism professor, Bryan Keefer of The Daily Beast and Josh Benton of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab both see the chink in pay walls’ armor as being that the majority of people just won’t pay for content in its current state, period. (Rosen actually predicted the paradoxical idea of paid-for “exclusivity” appealing to link-obsessed readers in a 2005 article for The Huffington Post.) So the people already paying for subscriptions will continue to pay, and the rest won’t be typing in their credit card information, no matter how small the fee is.

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Keller’s Letter To Award Committee Comes To Light, Journal Responds

nytwsj.jpgEarlier this week, New York Times‘ media columnist David Carr wrote a piece summarizing the last two years at The Wall Street Journal since it was sold by the Bancroft family to Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp.

The article boiled down to the fact that the publication has become, in Carr’s opinion, much more right-wing and conservative, especially in its D.C. bureau, following the takeover. Immediately after the piece was published, we received a comment from Robert Thompson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, who accused Carr of bringing up old rivalries between the two publications. Although it has to be mentioned that in his statement it was Thompson who rehashed old fights, by mentioning how last year Times‘ executive editor Bill Keller wrote a memo to “a prize committee” urging them to look closer at some of the Journal‘s stories before handing out awards for excellence in journalism.

And in case you thought that would be the end of it, you were wrong: now that the two print titans have each other in the crosshairs, neither is backing down. Oooh, fight!

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Microsoft Finds A Chink in Google’s Armor Named News Corp.

bing.jpg Two weeks ago, Rupert Murdoch announced that he would be taking content from his News Corp entities like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post off of Google’s search engines, ostensibly because the man doesn’t know jack about the Internet and can’t tell the difference between a search engine and an aggregator.

But as last night’s news broke that Microsoft, which just launched its own search engine Bing to compete with Google, is in talks with the Australian mogul in the hopes of paying him to remove his listings from its rival, we have to amend our previous statement. Crazy? Yes. Crazy like a fox.

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Fictional Columnist Returns To Financial Times

Today, we received a formal announcement from The Financial Times regarding the return of columnist Martin Lukes. Announced the salmon-colored paper:

“On Thursday 5th November Martin Lukes, iconic leader, trendsetter, multiple award winner and former CEO of Atlanta-based a-b glöbâl, returns to the Financial Times with a new weekly print and online column.”

According to the announcement, Lukes is currently serving the rest of his sentence for insider trading but will write his column from inside the prison, relaying information through his wife, Sherril. A financial paper publishing a column from a convicted white collar criminal while he’s still behind bars would be an amazing story, if Lukes himself wasn’t a complete fabrication.

Lukes, and the book he penned called Who Moved my BlackBerry?, are creations of FT writer Lucy Kellaway. It’s sort of like Newsweek‘s Dan Lyon‘s creation of Fake Steve Jobs, without the very obvious satirical title.

Although Lukes stopped writing his original FT column after being arrested for insider trading in 2007, it seems like Kellaway has finally decided to resurrect the character. Could it have something to do with the fact that business journalism could use a laugh right now or is the FT poking fun at white collar criminals like Conrad Black writing for pubs like The Daily Beast from prison?

The full release about Lukes, after the jump.

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Taking Another Look At The BusinessWeek Deal

bloomberg logo.jpgYesterday afternoon came the long-awaited news that Bloomberg LP had snapped up McGraw-Hill‘s BusinessWeek.

This morning, there are a few new points of view on the deal, which is said to have cost Bloomberg less than $5 million. Bloomberg also reportedly agreed to assume all of BusinessWeek‘s liabilities, including the cost of getting magazines to all of its subscribers who have paid in advance and any severance packages for BusinessWeek employees who are laid off during the transition. The New York Times says BusinessWeek‘s liabilities were $31.9 million as of April.

The Times also reports that the magazine will be rechristened Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

The Financial Times focused on the fact that this acquisition is a change of pace for the privately owned Bloomberg. “The rare break from Bloomberg’s tradition of organic growth came as Thomson Reuters, its rival in financial data terminals, was putting the finishing touches to a takeover of Breakingviews.com, a UK-based financial commentary website.”

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MSNBC.com Acquires Hyperlocal Site|FT Plans For Micropayments|Gourmet Launches Foodie TV Show|Kurtz Poo-poos Rather’s Presidential Commission Idea

WebNewser: MSNBC.com has acquired hyperlocal Web site EveryBlock which provides news and information “down to the neighborhood level” in 15 cities.

New York Times: The Financial Times is relishing its pay-for-content model, now launching a plan to accept micropayments for individual articles as an alternative for readers who don’t want to pay for a whole subscription.

Mediaweek: Starting this fall, Gourmet magazine is adding another new foodie television show to the schedule. The public television show, “Adventures with Ruth,” will be hosted by Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl and will debut October 17.

Washington Post: Howard Kurtz says Dan Rather is wrong: a presidential commission is not necessary to save the media. “I’d rather avoid the political bloviating that would permeate any conference orchestrated by the White House,” Kurtz said. “Journalists got themselves into this mess by clinging to the past as technology threatened to pass them by. They’ll have to get themselves out of it without any assistance from the Oval Office.”

Video: Jeff Rivera, a GalleyCat and Huffington Post contributor, interviewed “Dancing With The Stars” pro Karina Smirnoff about her new Broadway ballroom dance show and her new New York City digs.

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