Two years ago, and ten years into its web era, the New York Times introduced TimesSelect as a value-added service for its 2 million subscribers; ultimately 227,000 subscribers paid a fifth of what either Sunday or Mon-Sat subscribers were paying. The values included access to 100 articles a month from the archives, as well as access to its popular columnists, no longer free to the casual Internet reader. The service was much derided by bloggers, who had felt that the attaching of a fee to previously free material was heresy, or bad for business, or both. The service ended last week after a two-year run.
Our interest is to evaluate some of the warnings of the naysayers– whether the Times lost influence, or audience, or money over the last two years. Many entries in the blogs have been long on speculation and short on data. We have tried to fill in the data gaps here.