This is it folks–the newspaper’s last and best hope (so they think) for survival: paywalls. The New York Times has finally revealed the date that the wall will go up across the world’s access to its news content. It’s January 2011.
Bill Keller, the Times‘ executive editor, was speaking at a dinner event for the Foreign Press Association yesterday when he revealed the news, ending months of speculation sparked off by earlier rumors and confirmation that a plan to erect a paywall around the Times was in fact in progress.
Given the sudden success of the iPad, newspaper paywalls have become an even more interesting notion. Other old-media publications are testing out the paid-content model on this new platform, and in some cases the prices seem extremely elevated. The Wall Street Journal’s iPad effort, for example, feels expensive at $4 per week for a “living” newspaper iPad edition, and a mere seven days of archived daily editions. How well these apps work out as revenue generators will certainly impact on how the public accepts paywalls around more traditional Web-based newspaper editions.