Big publishers are looking for new ways to entice readers into becoming subscribers, as well as capitalize on the loyalty of their existing audience. The New York Times Co. and The Atlantic, which are experimenting with consumer-technology giveaways and paid memberships, respectively, are seeking to monetize their most engaged readers.
In a new pitch, NYTCO is offering a free Google Home device to customers who sign up for a digital subscription at the “All Access” level or above, or who opt for home delivery of the print newspaper. Google Home enables users to manage a range of connected devices and smart appliances through a single voice-activated interface.
NYTCO is offering the All Access subscription, which gives popular features like the NYT crossword and its new "Cooking" vertical, in addition to news, for an introductory price of $16.99 per month for one year. After that, the sub price goes back up to $26.99 per month.
The savings of $120 per month just about equals Google Home’s retail cost of $129.
The announcement comes not long after Google ended its “first click-free” policy, which should help publishers sell digital subs by eliminating backdoor access via Google search results. Google has also hinted at plans to help publishers win subscribers by streamlining the payment process.
A number of publishers have been experimenting with distributing content via Google Home, suggesting The New York Times wants to cross-promote audio content in the form of podcasts. NYT content is already included in the news roundup provided via Google Home by Google Assistant, which comes installed on the device.
Also this week, The Atlantic launched its first membership program, called The Masthead, with an introductory offer price of $120 a year.
In addition to receiving a free print and digital subscription to The Atlantic, Masthead members will get access to a members-only forum offering an opportunity to interact with Atlantic editors and other members. Editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg promised in a letter to readers: “You will not only receive some of our best journalism, written exclusively for our members; you will be directly underwriting The Atlantic’s future.”