New York Magazine reports that the NY Times is close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website. The Times has been debating which pay model to follow: a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall or the metered system adopted by the Financial Times, in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system.
The decision to go paid is monumental for the Times, which has been always been freely available online. The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com would grow into an English-language global newspaper of record with a vast audience that would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. But last year's financial crisis brought painful declines in advertising, it has become apparent that the Times has to make the leap to some form of paid content.