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…

    -S

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  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.

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    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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