Maxime Moné
Jan 9, 2018 · 3 min read

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The New York Times paywall

Among the most famous paywalls, the New York Times is often an example.

As we discussed in a previous post (“Landscape of paywall adoption in USA“), more than 75% of the US media (with a daily circulation > 50 000) have set up a paywall in 2015. It is between 2010 and 2015 that the paywalls appearance exploded with more than 91% of the paywalls set up at this time.

Among the most famous, the New York Times is often an example. They were one of the first publishers to set up a metered paywall in 2011 which allowed them to generate more than one million subscribers in 2015, more than 15% of the title overall revenues. The journal offers readers free access to 10 articles per month (previously 20, before 2012).

But how does the New York Times paywall work? What are the key steps? What is the user experience? Are there differences according user profiles? So many topics that we will try to address in this article.

The New York Times Paywall

The journey proposed to the readers is composed of 4 main stages:
(These tests were carried out in August and September 2016)

Step 1: 5th article

When you want to access your 5th article (no distinction on content type), the NYT displays a rather friendly message informing you that, as a loyal reader, you might be interested in subscribing, and so, you can discover the different options which are proposed to you. You also have the option to decline (“no thanks”).

Step 2: 9th article

If you are not ready to subscribe and you’ve clicked on“no thanks” in the previous step, you can access the articles again for free. At the end of the 9th article, a window will appear at the bottom right of your screen indicating that you have consumed 9 of your 10 items of the month, and that you can subscribe.
This does not block access to the content but alerts you that the utopian world in which you live will soon end.

Step 3: 10th article
Like the previous step, you are warned that this is your last article offered.

Step 4: 10 items consumed

Once your 10 items are consumed, and you want to access the 11th article, a layout appears on the screen and blocks access to the article. You are advised, as expected, that you can now subscribe.

The same experience in all media?

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