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The New York Times Paywall

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2474 1852 Words (8 Pages) Vineet Kumar, Bharat N. Anand, Sunil Gupta, Felix Oberholzer Gee Harvard Business School : 512077
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The case study talks about the introduction of paywalls by various newspaper companies. The New York Times had a huge problem where they noticed that their sales were on an instant decline and they were facing problems to attract the audiences therefore they felt that this is the high time to shift to the digital medium. The New York Times introduced paywalls where they allowed the incoming traffic to read the first five to twenty-five articles that were the limit of the day and then they had to subscribe. 

The paywall method of subscription proved to be helpful for The New York Times because of the inclusive nature of the content. The New York Times is known for its responsible journalism and unique and distinct content therefore it was easier for them to take the risk. The paywall proved to be a success for The New York Times bringing in more subscriptions ultimately resulting in higher profits and higher traffic. Greater incoming traffic also attracted the advertisers hence this decision proved to be a milestone for The New York Times in the long run. 

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. Is the Paywall working?

  2. How would you evaluate the current Paywall compared with the two prior ones? Do you think it is appropriately designed compared with the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal?

  3. Why are newspapers in trouble? What is the goal of The New York Times in creating the Paywall?

  4. Should The Times actively manage its transition from print to digital?

  5. Does the paywall seem like a good strategy for newspapers in general?

Case Study Questions Answers

1. Is the paywall working? 

Media companies and news agencies are paying serious attention to increasing their user base and therefore, they are taking on the idea of introducing a digital paywall to fight the dramatic loss of readers in the past few years. In my opinion, it depends upon the type of Newspaper Company. I believe that the newspapers with exclusive content can substantially increase their revenue with the help of paywalls. Paywalls can increase sales in the form of online subscriptions. Newspapers with common content easily available on the other sites can harm their online traffic by introducing paywalls because clearly, no one wants to spend money for information that is easily available elsewhere. The success of the paywall depends upon the uniqueness and exclusivity of the newspaper brand. 

As per the previous results, newspapers with less exclusive content have suffered losses due to paywalls. Thus, paywalls do not seem to be working for all kinds of newspapers. It is not the right formula for success for newspaper companies these days. It depends upon the nature of the content. These subscription models have a deep influence, depending on the nature of the company. Nonetheless, the study found that a robust corporate profile, as well as distinctiveness of information, were important determinants in post-paywall sales performance.

In my opinion, the paywall method runs counter to journalism's core objective of educating and informing society regarding vital problems. Once newspapers say things like "it is so vital that we've been providing it free," they're also suggesting that perhaps the rest of what they print isn't as crucial, so they'll price you for it. It's difficult to think of a company concept that is farther backward. Paywalls might help a publication make a fortune, however, it also hastens the terrifying prospect of users leaving the website, trying the freebie content, and concluding that it's very much the same. Alternatively, people may simply throw their gadgets aside and head elsewhere.

2. How would you evaluate the current Paywall compared with the two prior ones? Do you think it is appropriately designed compared with the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal?

In my opinion, the current paywall introduced by the New York Times is better than the previous ones. I strongly believe that the paywall introduced by the New York Times is a success. The New York Times is a well-established brand name not only in the US but also all across the world. It enjoys high customer loyalty because of its well-established name and high brand equity. Therefore, such a giant newspaper company can afford to introduce paywalls, a completely new idea in the market. However, the same subscription model and the paywall system cannot prove to be impactful for all the other newspapers in the country. It depends upon the nature of the company and the exclusivity and uniqueness of the content. 

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