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Journal To NYTimes: Told You So!

We suspect The Wall Street Journal's editors had to restrain themselves from adding a smiley face to today's headline: "New York Times Readies Pay Wall." In contrast to The Journal and its established paid model, The Times has tried several times to survive solely on advertising revenue. As The Journal boasts: "While some publications, including The Wall Street Journal, have had online subscription services for years, the industry as a whole has waded gingerly into paid content." Gingerly indeed, NYTimes.com readers will soon get free access to a certain number of pages per month before they are required to buy a subscription.

The Times has said in the past that only about 15% of its online readers are "heavy users," meaning, as The Journal notes, that "the vast majority probably won't trigger a payment requirement." As a free site, NYTimes.com attracts over 30 million monthly unique visitors, which fuel over $100 million a year in ad revenue, sources tell The Journal. "And half or more of the site's traffic in some months comes through the 'side door,' or from search engines, social-networking sites and other sources," The Journal reports. While prices have yet to be unveiled, sources tell The Journal that The Times has considered charging about $20 a month for "the digital bundle" -- including the printed paper or access via Amazon's Kindle -- and less than half that for the Web-only offering

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