'Times' Ready To Read The Meter?

In its ongoing search for a sustainable business model, The New York Times has certainly done its fair share of experimenting. Now, after several failed attempts at paid content, over a year of discussions, and multiple delays, New York Magazine reports that the Times is close to announcing -- if not actually launching -- a metered system, which would give non-paying readers access to select stories, while limiting full access (say, over 10 stories) to paying subscribers.

But, as NY Mag says and paidContent also points out, the new model still faces a big problem: "Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the paper's publisher and chairman of the New York Times Co. has yet to make his choice known."

And that's not the only problem with the system, writes Jeff Jarvis in The Faster Times. Under the headline, "The New York Times and the Cockeyed Economics of Metering Reading," Jarvis explains: "They would end up charging -- and, they should fear, sending away -- the readers who are worth the most while serving free those who are worth least."

Why? Jarvis cites research conducted by News Corp., which found that, "readers who come via links from search and aggregators and bloggers and such are worthless because they're not local and they don't stay; they're one-click-wonders ... The readers who come back again and again, the ones you know more about and can rely on and target better and build relationships with, goes this logic, are worth more."

Also of note, NY Mag points out the release of the Times' new model could be timed to sync with the release of the Apple Tablet.

Or, as The Christian Science Monitor put it: "Speculation about the role of the Tablet in the Times' multimedia strategy roiled the Web this morning, as bloggers tripped over themselves to gather the latest news on the Apple Tablet."

Late last year, bloggers had a field day when video leaked of Times executive editor Bill Keller mentioning an Apple "slate" in an off-the-record discussion with editorial staff.
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