According to the NY Times’ own reporting of the end of Times Select, you’d think this was all part of the master plan:
The Times said the project had met expectations, drawing 227,000 paying subscribers — out of 787,000 over all — and generating about $10 million a year in revenue.
“But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising,” said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, NYTimes.com.
What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.
“What wasn’t anticipated was the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others,” Ms. Schiller said.
Missing from the self analysis is any mention of how much it actually cost to run and develop Times Select over the past two years and how much money the company lost on this venture. And I like this little gem from the article…it seems the NY Times has a little bit of Cheney in them:
In addition, he said, The Times has been especially effective at using information it collects about its online readers to aim ads specifically to them, increasing their value to advertisers.