NYTimes.com’s Wonky Pricing Structure

I’m happy to hear that starting March 28th, the New York Times will begin charging users via a metered/stepped usage system. If you’re a casual user, you probably won’t be affected, but Times junkies like me, we’re looking at another monthly bill.

Personally, I was a TimesSelect subscriber back in the day and think the Times deserves some of my money. But I’m confused by the pricing structure of their new subscriber program. 

  • Unlimited website access comes with all pricing tiers.
  • If I want to read NYT on my iPhone, it’ll cost me $15 a month.
  • If I want to read it on a bigger screen (iPad), but *not* my iPhone, it’ll cost me $20 a month.
  • But if I want to see it on both my iPad and iPhone, I’ve got to shell out a whopping $35 a month.

I don’t have any problem with the amounts in the sense of affordability; I’d happily pay $30+ dollars a month to help ensure that the Times can keep bureaus and reporters on the ground in places other outlets can’t.

But I do have a problem with the marginal cost structure they’ve established. The floor is $15 per month for access to the website and smartphone, and by pricing iPad access at $20 per month, they are basically saying that there is a $5 price premium per device/type of access.

And then suddenly it jumps to $35. This is the part that makes no sense, because the amount of extra value I’m receiving is only $5, not $15. Especially because I can read the Times website pretty easily on my iPad.

Pricing problem? You betcha.

3 thoughts on “NYTimes.com’s Wonky Pricing Structure

  1. Glad to have you back! You can only do so much creative writing in 140 characters.

    It seems like they should have simply a $5 per gadget fee. iPhone? A fin. iPhone + iPad = $10 and so on. Why they are gouging people for the privilege of reading their material in a larger format baffles me.

    Then again, I’m such a neo Luddite that my idea of “larger format” involves a paper copy and a sheet sized magnifying glass…



  2. I think the NY Times said they’re exempting links to their stories from google. So if you want to read a story and you’re over your free limit, you could just do a google search for the headline and read the story for free, right? Therefore… just pay for it on your iphone and use this loophole for your ipad and computer.


    1. Well, I’ve said that I’ll happily pay for the Times, so I’m not looking for a loophole. However, I’m not paying an extra $20 a month to read on my iPad app. I’ll just use the web browser.


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