TimesSelect Forces NYTNS Clients to Change Online Habits

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By: Dave Astor

When The New York Times’ columnists became part of NYTimes.com’s premium subscription service this week, it changed the way New York Times News Service subscribers can use these popular pundits online.

Previously, NYTNS clients could post Times columns on their Web sites for 24 hours if they also published them in their print editions. Now, newspapers can post the work of Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman, and others only in a paid area of their sites.

“All English-language clients of the news service — whether domestic or foreign — have agreed to either not post the columns they publish or to put the columns behind a paid wall,” said NYTNS Executive Editor Laurence M. Paul, when reached by E&P Online.

Paul said he knows of only one newspaper — in Australia — that posted a Times column in a free part of its site Monday. When NYTNS learned that Bob Herbert was appearing gratis on that paper’s site, it contacted the client to ask that this not happen again.

What would NYTNS do if other newspaper sites posted columns that could be accessed for free? Paul reiterated that this hasn’t been a problem so far, and that clients realize they now have a different contractual obligation.

NYTNS has approximately 650 clients worldwide, although many are not affected by the ramifications of the new paid wall. Those not affected include clients that publish NYTNS content in languages other than English, and English-language clients that buy a version of the news service that doesn’t include Times columns.

Of the English-language clients that do use the columns, Paul isn’t sure how many will run them print-only and how many will also post them in a paid area of their sites.

Paul doesn’t anticipate the paid wall having a significant impact on NYTNS’ sales and nearly 100% renewal rates. And, since NYTNS has contracts with clients that last at least a year, any possible impact may not be known for several months.

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