New York Times Cancels TimesSelect

Just two years after it introduced its premium online subscription service, the New York Times on Tuesday said it will be doing away with TimesSelect on Wednesday and allowing free access to the majority of its content.

The paper made a modest income off of the service, which had about 227,000 paying subscribers and was generating around $10 million in annual revenue. However, it felt ad sales from opening up most of its content and archives would be much more lucrative.

While TimesSelect was available, the NYT charged $7.95 per month or $49.95 a year, and print subscribers received free access to online content. However, since the debut of the service, the online landscape has changed, and services like TimesSelect have fallen out of favor.

"We believe offering unfettered access to New York Times reporting and analysis best serves the interest of our readers, our brand and the long-term vitality of our journalism," head Vivian Schiller said in a letter on the site. "We encourage everyone to read our news and opinion ??" as well as share it, link to it and comment on it."

It could be deduced that the NYT is hoping to take advantage of social link sharing sites like Digg in order to increase traffic. By opening its site up, users of the site may be more apt to link to the paper's stories, thus generating more ad views and thus more revenue.

However, at the same time, it highlights the struggles of print journalism. Revenues from paper sales are down significantly. Some saw the Internet and premium content services as the way to make up lost revenue, but if a paper with global reach like the NYT cannot make significant money from it, its likely smaller dailies won't either.

A portion of the Times' archives still comes at a premium. While archives from 1851 to 1922 and 1987 to 2007 are free, users have to pay to access stories between 1923 and 1986.

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