Post User Polls

Do you want to pay for news content online?

The New York Times announced today that it would start charging online users to read content on its Web site in 2011. They hope the move will draw in more revenue online without driving away advertisers. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  January 20, 2010; 10:07 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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"Will you pay" and "Do you want to pay" are two different questions altogether. I will pay, though I don't want to. I'll pay, especially if it helps improve the Washington Post's website, which is definitely the worst-run of the major dailies. Typos and misconceptions galore, nicely personified in this mismatched poll headline and question.

Posted by: calliope_81 | January 20, 2010 10:29 AM

Why am I going to pay for something that is already inundated with advertising?? It's almost like double charging.

Posted by: Thundershock | January 20, 2010 10:40 AM

While I do not wish to pay, I would; but I would cancel my 7 day/week subscription. If the website was included in the daily price, I would continue supporting the paper in my own small way.

Posted by: kipaki | January 20, 2010 10:41 AM

General world news on a screen is worth what you can get advertisers to pay for the customer exposure. The Internet didn't set that standard... Television did.

Posted by: Bill64738 | January 20, 2010 10:42 AM

I pay for NPR. Why wouldn't I pay for online content?

The difference is that I can choose how much to pay for NPR depending on how much I use it and how good the content is, and that their business model is already built on that understanding. I'm not sure online news can move to that model, at least not /all/ the legacy sites.

Posted by: quatsch | January 20, 2010 10:42 AM

I would also cancel my subscription, and I agree with Calliope about the poor quality of the online version. Remember Gene Weingarten's column about the fired editors?

Posted by: chunche | January 20, 2010 10:45 AM

Thundershock's notes on advertising are right on, actually -- I don't notice advertising on the WaPo site because I block it, because it gets in my way. I'd much rather move to another payment system entirely.

Posted by: quatsch | January 20, 2010 10:46 AM

I would be willing to pay for an online version if it DOES NOT have all the disruptive and annoying advertising infecting the current online version.

Posted by: ccs53 | January 20, 2010 10:48 AM

Yes, I will pay. In fact, I want to pay. I want the Washington Post to survive. I paid for an on-line version of the Post many years ago, before the WWW made everything free. I paid for it because it was convenient, and because I’m allergic to newsprint. I also hate having to recycle all that newspaper. Reading the Post on-line saves trees. But I would like to make one request; please get rid of those bandwidth hogging animated advertisements. The Post takes longer to load than any other site. I don’t mind advertisements in general, some of them are even useful, but I hate the hogs.

Posted by: starshine2 | January 20, 2010 10:54 AM

I'll only pay when they take the last existing paper copy out of my cold dead hands. Wait, if I'm dead...

Posted by: DrFish | January 20, 2010 11:02 AM

I like the "tailored advertising" model that I receive from Washington Post now, where they determine which ads to show me based on the articles I read and the double-click data from other sites. It works so well because I'm actually interested in the ads they show me, so it makes sense to the advertisers to make the purchase.

Is this enough revenue to support a good newspaper and ethical journalism? I don't know.

Would I ever be interested in paying to read news? Probably not. There's always another source publishing similar information for free. Quality journalism has me reading the Post over other sites, but it's not likely to get me to pay.

Posted by: NashRamblerr | January 20, 2010 11:24 AM

The only reason I don't subscribe is because someone keeps taking my paper. So I have no problem subscribing to an online edition, provided that it's not more expensive than a paper edition (if anything it should be less). The only problem is that I like getting the Sunday ads. I wish stores would make PDF versions of them.

Posted by: nuzuw | January 20, 2010 11:24 AM

The New York Times with all it's previous goodness and investigative reporting will NOT get my continued financial support until they adapt to the times and to the Internet !

They are trying to ram down internet readers throats the business model of news reporting from last century from their 'print editions'- it doesn't work... and either the newspaper industry executives are brain dead or just don't deserve a place in the industry any more from their intentional arrogance.

They need to aggregate, aggregate, aggregate - did I mention aggregate the news sources into their news reporting.

Yes, this will thin down the news industry pack considerably, but so many newspapers are worthless now anyway - have you seen how many report EXACTLY the same thing from syndicated news sources.

The internet reveals quite easily the emperor (newspaper industry), without clothes and it ain't pretty.

See this excellent perspective on the future of the newspaper industry here -

Posted by: danglingwrangler | January 20, 2010 11:42 AM

Sorry, NYT. I love you guys, you're the best paper out there, but once 2011 rolls around, you will have lost a reader.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | January 20, 2010 12:34 PM

Papers have to move this direction, and people will end up paying for their news one way or another.

All major publications are hemmoraging money and have been since the internet destroyed their business model. Like the music industry which initially fought the move away from brick and mortar music stores and actual cd's to online music stores, papers will have to do the same. And by all indication can't wait to do so.

Literally 40% of the Post's operating budget is consumed by the actual printing process. Paper, ink, maintaining and operating numerous printing facilities staffed with people to run them, and then shipping of the papers to their location.

Simply moving everyone who already subscribes to the Post to online content would remove nearly half the Post's expense overnight.

Most of us who already subscribe read online as well. I only "read" the paper really on the weekends, I read the post online during the week.

The Post could reduce the subscription by half and reduce the amount of advertising on its pages and still make a boat load of money. I would be willing to pay and read online if they offered us something like that. Fewer ad's etc...

Posted by: Nosh1 | January 20, 2010 12:59 PM

I have no problem paying for site membership but I'm not paying for a site that also includes annoying advertising.

It's either ads or paid membership but I won't tolerate both.

Posted by: oakmoxy1 | January 20, 2010 1:02 PM

I would gladly pay the going subscription rate for access to

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 20, 2010 1:05 PM

I think it's only fair to start paying for online news from reputable papers, which provide--after all--95% of the new stories we see on T.V., hear on the radio, and so forth. I think that the WaPo could use the money (see others' comments about the website and fired copy editors above). Those who don't wish to pay something could always return to smaller local papers, which might benefit from a bump in subscriptions.

I only caution that the Post (and Times, for that matter) should consider keying its rates to income so that students and lower-income individuals don't find themselves shut out. Employers could buy blanket subscriptions for the whole office as a perk, if they liked!

Posted by: Bertilak | January 20, 2010 1:10 PM

Badly phrased question, as others have noted. But will I pay to read the Washington Post online? Depends very much on the quality of the content and its presentation and whether I could have access to the newspaper on my Blackberry and computer and in dead tree for all for a single monthly payment. Paying for online content would be a more attractive if it meant the Post could afford to cover the world properly and would stop shutting down its foreign bureaus.

Posted by: SimonBarber | January 20, 2010 1:13 PM

This really isn't new. The NYT tried charging for their online edition several years ago and finally went back to the free format. I stopped reading them the first time, and I will quit the NYT again come next year. I'm willing to be confronted with advertising - obviously any business model needs a revenue stream, but there are just too many alternative sources of online news for me to consider paying, particularly if I have to put up with advertisements as well.

Posted by: joe37 | January 20, 2010 1:15 PM

I don't think there is enough sophistication in web sites to solicit pay per view or any charges - the pop up commercials are bad enough but for a free page, ok.

Posted by: RepublicusMaximus | January 20, 2010 1:18 PM

Anyone remember the Post's Digital Ink? I paid a monthly fee for that ans was relatively happy with the content, even though the interface sucked.

I would probably be willing to pay the Post for improved (or restored?)local news coverage of the local area in which I live.

But after watching the Post's recent decline, I'm not sure they can deliver what I want from them, even if I pay for it.

Posted by: dcrussell | January 20, 2010 1:57 PM

I will pay only if it's convenient. I don't want to have to make a story by story decision. I was not impressed by the online print edition of the Washington Post--it took too long to get the sizing right. I want something fast, like this website.

Posted by: EEBish | January 20, 2010 2:01 PM

Now we are expected to pay for the privilege of reading biased corporate propaganda? There are plenty of free web sources which provide more accuate information than the giant media outlets.

Posted by: newdoggie | January 20, 2010 2:03 PM

The problem with the NYT is I don't read it every day, only if there is an article I'm interested in. So, no, I'm not going to pay a blanket fee for that. As for the Post, I do read it every day, but since I'm not supposed to be doing it at work how would paying work? If people have to pay they will stop reading and if they stop, I'm afraid they won't start back up again.

Posted by: didnik | January 20, 2010 2:07 PM

Certainly not the Washington Post.....

I already subscribe to the hard copy NYT on weekends and the WSJ on weekdays, they allow unfettered web access with my hard copy subscriptions. I get much better local news from WTOP and the Gazette.

The Post has really gone to the dogs over the last ten years or so. But, it's acceptable as long as it's free......

Posted by: jmccas | January 20, 2010 2:21 PM

More and more we are going to a greater shake down of there is nothing free. There is a tax on everything, add the interest and the late fees.. included with all the red tape it all totals out as a waving shot gun, kept in place by those whom own numerous homes. I do not subscribe to a newspaper, I will not pay for insufficient/non-conclusive news and I will never pay for it on-line. If I am in the dark about what is going on I will have missed very little because the majority of it is propaganda or just plain old bull. I say get rid of so many news broadcasters and play more cartoons. The children would have a better chance of developing with good sense.

Posted by: alwaysAlabama | January 20, 2010 2:36 PM

I understand that producing quality journalism and news is costly and people need to be compensated for their work and cost occurred in the process. And that is fine. But will I subscribe for a newspaper online version, which is loaded with advertisement (flashing etc)? No,I do not think so. But I will consider subscribing to an online version, which is focused and designed exclusively based on readability, webpage navigation, fast to load, easy to search and reference. Preferably available for download. Subscribers should have the right to provide links to persons with whom they wish to discuss an article, at least to some extent. Why should I subscribe for advertisement when the Internet is loaded with that junk anyway? But I will consider subscribing for online versions of quality journalism when the webpages are made truly easy to read. I hope the newspapers will be successful finding a business model, which fits both them, their readers and advertisers. Because thriving journalism is essential in a free democracy as lubrication oil is required in an engine to prevent failure.

Posted by: Chris_BWI1 | January 20, 2010 3:02 PM

"Do you want" is a bit different from "Are you willing"; however, I responded "Yes," because it's the only way for our greatest news sources to survive.

Posted by: AZANNE | January 20, 2010 3:35 PM

Unfortunately many people simply cannot afford to pay. I'll have to stop reading your newspaper. It'll be back to the public library to wait in line to view the paltry selection there. Goodbye internet age of information.

Posted by: KateSaunders | January 21, 2010 9:20 AM

I would be willing to pay, but ONLY if it meant no ads.

WashPost folks: please consider this. You can keep your site as it is, with the ridiculous amount of ads, for the freeloaders (like me at the moment). But please consider providing ad-free access to those willing to pay.

Posted by: Kiffee | January 21, 2010 9:27 AM

I would definitely pay if it meant no ads. I think the WP should offer two versions, one too pay with no ads, or few ads, and one with ads for free. I subscribe to the paper version but I still go only to WashPost several times a day, and sometimes the ads drive me nuts.

Posted by: jtsw | January 21, 2010 11:43 AM

Now that Corporations are people with rights, get the money out of these foreign blankets disguised as Americans.
Tell the truth and vet.
Make it worth buying.

Posted by: dottydo | January 21, 2010 8:02 PM

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