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NY Times Cuts Number Of Free Web Articles To 10/Month

03/20/2012 | 11:26am US/Eastern

--New York Times cuts free monthly articles to 10 stories

--New York Times and sister publication the International Herald Tribune had 454,000 paid digital subscribers as of Sunday

--Part of a growing movement by newspapers to set up pay walls for online content

(Updates throughout with details on New York Times and other newspapers' pay models, along with background.)

 
    By William Launder 
    Of  
 

The New York Times Co. (>> The New York Times Company) on Tuesday said it would halve the number of stories available for free each month at its flagship newspaper's website.

The move comes a year after the New York Times began charging viewers for online access, and as a growing tally of publishers establish pay walls to supplant revenue lost from their slowing print advertising and subscription businesses.

The New York Times further said it had increased its base of paid digital subscribers at the newspaper and its sister publication the International Herald Tribune to 454,000 subscribers as of Sunday. The increase represents a more than 16% jump from the end of 2011, when the company had 390,000 paid digital subscribers at the two newspapers.

Beginning in April, the New York Times will limit the number of free stories available on its website to 10 articles from its current 20-story allotment, before readers are prompted to subscribe and are shut out from viewing free content for one month.

The New York Times "metered" pay model is similar to one launched by Pearson PLC's (PSO, PSON.LN) Financial Times in 2007, which grants readers access to eight stories for free each month before they are asked to subscribe. The Financial Times had 267,000 paid digital subscribers at the end of February.

News Corp.'s (NWS, NWSA) The Wall Street Journal has 1.3 million paid digital subscribers, and began charging for some online content to the newspaper in 1996. News Corp. owns this newswire.

Unlike the metered model used by some of its peers, The Wall Street Journal allows readers to view some stories for free, regardless of their viewing history, but limits other articles only to subscribers.

The New York Times previously implemented a pay wall for some of its content, such as op-ed columns, but abandoned its TimesSelect model in 2007.

Elsewhere, Gannett Co. (>> Gannett Co., Inc.) said earlier this year that it would begin charging for digital access at its newspapers, except for USA Today, and Tribune Co.'s Los Angeles Times also has started charging for online access.

-By William Launder, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3412; william.launder@dowjones.com

Stocks mentioned in the article : Gannett Co., Inc., The New York Times Company
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