The New Yorker rolls out metered paywall
The New Yorker launched a metered paywall Tuesday morning, the magazine's editors announced in an editors' note. The paywall allows non-subscribers to access six free articles—whether they are print magazine pieces or online-only stories—and an unlimited number of videos per month. Subscribers will have access to unlimited articles as well as The New Yorker's complete archive, dating back to its founding in 1925.
So, why did the magazine decide to set the meter at six articles per month?
"Well, it's based on a number of factors. One is our sort of intense data analysis of our readers. Another is the economics, and the third is gut. It feels like a good number," NewYorker.com editor Nicholas Thomson told Capital in an interview. "You'll be able to get a lot of stories, you'll be able to get a lot of the magazine every month, but it also feels like a number where people will feel like they should subscribe."
Print or digital subscriptions will cost $12 for the first 12 weeks, and then $60 per year, while combined print/digital subscriptions will cost $12 for the first 12 weeks, and then $70 per year. Current subscribers—print, digital, Kindle, and so on—will be grandfathered into the combined plan for the duration of their subscription.
As Capital first reported in July, The New Yorker has encouraged its magazine staff writers to write more pieces for the web. Now that both web and print pieces count toward the metered paywall, the magazine needs to ensure that the quality of its online-only pieces matches the quality of its print pieces.
"The percentage of posts written by staff writers has gone up dramatically. ... Amy [Davidson] will be part of that. We're basically putting more priority on having a large percentage of the site be written by a group of writers whose names you know and who you're familiar with," Thompson said.
NewYorker.com executive editor Amy Davidson's role has also shifted, and she will now be writing much more for the site's "Close Read" news blog.
"Her role has been lots of editing and a little bit of writing, and now she'll be doing lots of writing and a little bit of editing," Thompson said. "The big projects have happened—the redesign, the paywall—and she's now going to become mostly a writer. She's very good at it!"