NYTimes Considers $5 Monthly Online Fee

The New York Times is considering taking its site to subscription only at a cost of $5/month. Print subscribers would get online access for only $2.50/month.

Times Co. is contemplating additional sources of revenue as marketers slow spending on the Internet. Ad sales at the publisher’s sites, also including about.com and boston.com, fell 8 percent and 3.5 percent in the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2008 respectively. They gained 6.5 percent last year. “The question here for consumers is the psychological barrier of now paying when you were getting it for free before, and you’re going to lose some readers as a result,” said Ken Doctor, an analyst at Outsell Inc. in Burlingame, California. “The New York Times will also have to evaluate what this means for ad rates as they lose readers.”

$5/month seems a fair price to me for a paper of the NYT’s quality. You?