The New York Times announced yesterday that it is opening up the premium Times Select portion of the site to the general public. First launched in 2005, Times Select followed the standard, outdated approach to putting print news on the web — it charged viewers a subscription fee.
Apparently someone over at the Times has finally realized what the rest of the internet had figured out long before Times Select first launched: thars money in them thar ads. Not that Times will admit it was wrong, a spokesperson tells PaidContent.org “This is what is really important — it did work. It’s just a matter of as compared to what.”
In other words, Times Select was so successful they changed the entire business model.
The truth is, while Times Select might have made a little money, the Times is doing away with the subscription service because serving ads on the same pages will generate massively more revenue — giving it away works.
As part of the announcement, the Times’ archives from the past 20 years, as well as the public domain years of 1851-1922, are also now freely available to the general public. Some of the articles from those gap years between 1923-1986 will also be available for free, though it’s difficult to tell which ones based on the announcement.
Times Reader and the premium crossword service will remain paid services.