Tuesday, May 17, 2005

If Anything, ColumnistSelect Is Best

The Moderate Voice identifies the problems and pitfalls for the NY Times with their decision to put their columnists behind a subscription wall called TimesSelect with an annual access fee of $49.95. It's worth a read, especially for the bigwigs at the NYT.

But if the Times does plan to go through with this and really test it out, then they ought to go whole hog and charge by columnist. I'd consider coughing up a little dough to read the opinions of David Brooks but I am not so fond of Brooks' columns that I would pay any money at all if I had the feeling it was subsidizing continued access to either Dowd or Krugman, much as their columns are fodder for some really good fiskings. And that should is the point of their concept, shouldn't it -- the Times thinks their opinion team of columnists are good enough to be an independent revenue sector of their publications.

So go for it and let them show their stuff as independent revenue generators. If they can't generate, rotate them out and bring in some that can. While it won't guarantee a boost to the bottom line it will be a boost to the Times' reputation and if they can't find anyone that can make it profitable, then, of course, they can be sure it was a bad idea to begin with.

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