Saturday, September 22, 2007

Times Kills TimesSelect: What It Means for Magazines

BoSacks Speaks Out:
I don't think this move means anything specific to any single publisher. Publishing today is all about niche. The NYT is in the very broad and global niche of world news delivery. Most magazine publishers are not in that particular information boat.

The stronger, more focused your editorial(niche) the stronger your franchise is. Publishers with robust online sites should continue to prosper relative to the value of their content to the reader. If you build a sustainable editorial product of excellence you should continue prosper. Here is a simple formula. CGE & CR = CSR

Continuously Great Edit which delivers a Committed Readership equals Consistent and Sustainable Revenue.

"A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all."
Michael Leboeuf quotes

Times Kills TimesSelect: What It Means for Magazines
Posted by: Dylan Stableford

The New York Times today announced that it will drop its paid online subscription program, TimesSelect, effectively admitting its two-year attempt to charge its Web site users to access premium content and archives had failed.

TimesSelect, which charged $49.95 per year ($7.95 a month) for access to its columnists and the newspaper's archives, drew an estimated 227,000 paid subscribers and $10 million in annual revenue. Beginning at midnight, the newspaper will open up access to its entire site to readers. So what changed?

Many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.

According to Nielsen/NetRatings, traffic sees roughly 13

million unique visitors each month, and could explode without a wall, according to industry observers. The crumbling of the Times subscription modelleaves the Wall Street Journal as only major newspaper in the country to charge for access to most of its Web site, generating $65 million in revenue, according to the Times.

So what does this mean for magazine publishers? Consumer Reports, one of the few remaining magazines to charge for access to its site, is nearing three million paid subscribers to its Web site. (Most subscriptions cost $26/year.)

But for most consumer magazines, the free model dominates the industry. Why? Because it comes down to readers - which is why magazine industry consultant Bob Sacks likes the Times move.

"They are thinking long term and this move will continue to protect and promote the Times brand, and at the same time cultivate new readership," Sacks wrote in an e-mail. "After all sustained loyal readership is the bedrock of any publishing empire, be it large or small. If you don't have readers, exactly what do you have?"

Murdoch makes case for free WSJ online
By Kenneth Li
NEW YORK (Reuters) - News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday sketched out early plans for Dow Jones & Co Inc, saying he leaned toward making the online Wall Street Journal free but had not yet made a decision.

Murdoch also projected about $100 million in cost savings, or double the amount earlier anticipated, saying he had identified "low-hanging fruit." His $5.6 billion purchase of the publisher of the Wall Street Journal is expected to close in about two months.

Murdoch said he saw opportunities to increase growth at Dow Jones. Like the rest of the publishing industry, Dow Jones has been grappling with slowing advertising growth.

"Dow Jones presents a great challenge," Murdoch told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference. "We think there are enormous opportunities ... We're about expanding revenue."

He also talked about building a closer relationship between the Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, which compete with Reuters and Bloomberg.

"Between the two, you have 1,600 journalists. That's a lot of journalists. There's a huge resource there to build on," Murdoch said.

He reiterated his proposal to make the Wall Street Journal's Web site free, rejecting criticism that it would hurt the newspaper. Analysts have said a free could be a risky move as the site is a rare Internet property that has managed to attract paying customers.

Murdoch said making the site, which currently charges a annual subscription fee of $99, freely available online would help boost viewership and revenue globally.

"Will you lose $50 million to $100 million in revenue? I don't think so," Murdoch said. "If the site is good, you'll get much more."

His comments came a day after the New York Times Co said it would end its paid TimesSelect service to attract more online ads.


Dow Jones resources are expected to contribute to News Corp's Fox Business Network, seen as a potentially strong rival to General Electric's CNBC. It launches on October 15.

Murdoch said he envisioned a network that would look very different from the reigning cable business news network, which also competes with Bloomberg television.

"CNBC is a financial news network for Wall Street," he said. "We're for Main Street."

Analysts have questioned whether there is a large enough audience to support a third business news network, especially after Time Warner Inc's CNN closed its financial channel several years ago.

Murdoch said he faced a similar criticism when he started the Fox television network and when he launched Fox News, which became the top cable news channel by viewership and whose advertising growth contributes to News Corp's bottom line.

"When I started Fox News, everyone considered me to be an idiot, spending $1 billion," he said. "It's now worth $10 billion."

Although the Journal is locked in a deal with CNBC through 2011 forbidding Journal reporters from appearing on the new Fox Business Network, Murdoch said the paper can still contribute its coverage of politics, national and international affairs, and lifestyle news.

"And we'll have that in another four years," Murdoch said.

On Tuesday, Fox Business Network added four more anchors to its roster of four other Fox News veterans.

The new hires are Peter Barnes, a former Washington D.C. correspondent for CNBC who most recently was a Washington bureau chief for Hearst-Argyle; Jenna Lee, a former news anchor and reporter for; Nicole Petallides from Bloomberg Television; and Cody Willard, a columnist for The Financial Times.

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