Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Goodbye TimesSelect, goodbye subscription model

OK ... it may be all over but for the shouting for TimesSelect, the experiment at which operated under the premise that people would actually pay for some Times content, like the op-ed columns. Doesn't look like anyone at the Times has come clean on this yet, but it's all over the press, and pretty much is the death knell for a paid content model on the Web, as far as I can see—particularly since most people presume that Rupert Murdoch will let the rabble into soon enough by also dropping that site's subscription model. I don't think this is a good thing. For one, content solely supported by advertising devalues content, and secondly, through broadcast TV has managed it for years, not having a subscription revenue stream makes Web content constantly vulnerable to downturns in the online ad market. And we all know how bad those downturns can be.

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