Two-plus years after making its entire website free, the New York Times is about to roll out a plan that will charge readers for online access. The announcement may come within 2 weeks, but the pay wall won't be in force for several months, New York magazine reports. Rather than charging for everything or for predetermined categories of content, the paper will use a "metered" system similar to the one the Financial Times employs, allowing free access to a certain number of articles before requiring payment.
Internal debate has been raging for a year, but even some opponents of the Times' original fee-for-access model have come around. "We have to do anything we can to raise money," said Thomas Friedman, whose columns were behind the pay wall before TimesSelect ended in September 2007. The Times wouldn't confirm the news but wasn't denying anything, either. "We'll announce a decision when we believe that we have crafted the best possible business approach," said a spokeswoman.