In addition to The Times asking readers whether they’d pay for content, all be it in a very small, subtle way, the New York Times is also surveying it’s readers on charging for content. In an article which also mentions the possibility of Disney, Ask.com and Match.com charging online, Bloomberg mentions the NYT:
“New York Times said in a survey of print subscribers this month that it’s considering a $5 monthly fee for access to its namesake newspaper’s Web site. The company also asked whether existing print subscribers would be willing to pay a discounted fee of $2.50 a month for access to the site. Nytimes.com, the most visited among newspapers’ sites, is currently free.”
£5 a month actually sounds vaguely reasonable, and would perhaps be prolific enough to overcome the link economy – would a large enough group of people have subscriptions due to the website for linked to material not be consistently hidden behind a pay wall?
But in reality, it would probably have a detrimental effect, especially on an international website where those outside the USA would have no option but to pay the full $5. It would be interesting to see what the potential revenue would be, bearing in mind also the effect it would have on web ad revenue and print subscriptions.