The New York Times latest effort to try to charge for its content is a waste of time. They may convert a small audience to paid subscriptions however with their current editorial, over time that audience will decline substantially.
General news and information is available everywhere at no cost to readers so why should readers pay for the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal is now more general than ever and I believe that News Corp has reduced its enterprise value as a result. Supply and demand is determining the market.
In the future the most valuable information will come from the users; Crowd Sourcing from the best of the best in the crowd.
Imagine a membership only forum of the top 100 people in corporate finance. How much would it be worth to have access to their articles, posts and comments? Of course membership would be by application only and limited to x number of members.
How much would an apartment seeker in New York pay for access to no fee listings or to be the first to see new home listings?
This idea is not new and some companies already exist with this strategy. However I believe this strategy will become a primary approach going forward in content creation.
The Ladders was created with this concept of exclusive access in mind although, in its effort to grow the business, has diluted some its objective of the best candidates and for an exclusive list of jobs.
To be truly successful an organization like The Ladders should strictly limit membership of both companies and subscribers. Growth would come from creating a lot of very niche Ladders properties.
The future successes in monetization of content will come from those who offer the most exclusive and valuable information.
The days of the general newspaper are quickly dying with the concept of the Associated Press being reborn. A few news organizations that can survive and succeed with enormous distribution (syndicated across many web sites and devices); a low revenue per reader but enough readers to generate substantial collective revenues…they’ll make it up on volume.