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That's just the intro price. It's $5/WEEK if you want nytimes.com + tablet apps. That's $260/year instead of $22/year. I would gladly subscribe if the long term rate was $5 for 12 weeks.

See full prices here: http://www.nytimes.com/subscriptions/Multiproduct/lp5558.htm...

Just as a reference point: the digital only edition of one of the largest newspapers here in Norway is ~7$ per week and with the paper edition it's ~13$

Quick reference doesn't matter in this case, they don't compare...

The average income in Norway is $6909 (USD), monthly and the average income in the United States (which is kinda a useless stat since cost of living is significantly different in different places) is $2678 (USD) monthly.

I used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_S... and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Norway

for quick stats.

Yeah, that's too much. And that's just for the NY Times... how many other sites are you supposed to pay for?

I feel like there should be some technical way to handle letting a user pay a flat amount, and distribute the proceeds to the sites you actually visit, in a sort of fair way.

Yeah, its so damn much money....

Five dollars might buy you a meal at lunch at a fast food place, once, per week.

Five dollars might buy you a specialty coffee drink, once, per week.

Five dollars might cover your commute, bus fare, maybe once a week.

Five dollars a day won't even cover what most people put into car notes, its barely less than what many pay to play some MMOs.

So in the grand scheme of things its not a price point, people just like to gripe about having to actually pay for what they do not place value on, or sufficient value. Face it, far too many geeks do not see the complexity of delivering the news. Oh sure they see the web side but even then they vastly under estimate the costs to create the process let alone maintain it.

As with all other pay services, find those which are relevant to your needs, but damn, quit trying to tell these places how much it costs to run their business

Maybe there should be one umbrella corporation that owns all media sites, that way we could pay the umbrella corporation a monthly fee and be done with it.

I hope that you're joking...

The idea of some sort of syndicated media fee has occurred to me in the past.

The main problem I see is that there's a fairly strong argument to paying based on your ability, so that wealth customers ought to pay more.

Pricing information goods is hard.


The main problem is that it would create an economy where the the media outlets that produce the media desired by the paying authority (people are people and the fund will not be unlimited dollars) are prioritized over others, so that the only news will eventually be that which will be known to get you paid.

I.e., the controlling body -- I'm guessing a government entity, here -- will be the sole voice of the fourth pillar, and the whole notion of press freedom is buried and forgotten.

it would create an economy where the the media outlets that produce the media desired by the paying authority

And that's precisely what you've got now, except that the paying authority is advertisers, with access mediated by whatever roadblocks Google's thrown at SEO this week. In earlier schemes, you got the content preferred by patrons (royalty and/or the Church), or what could support small roving troups of actors, players, musicians, bards, raconteurs, etc. Back in the 1980s I was watching an early "festival of computer animation" and noticed that shorts from cigarette advertisments (largely from Europe) featured heavily. It was, effectively, the Church for patronage of CGI development (nascent and expensive at the time).

The syndication need not be through a single agency, and there are existing examples in the music industry (not that that's perfect either): you've got The Harry Fox Agency, ASCAP, SESAC, and BMI. For airtime play there is both logs (of airplay) and sampling methods to determine who gets paid for what. The licensing even covers live performance venues such as bars and nightclubs. There it's the club owner, not the band, who has the license for performances (it's much easier to conduct audits and enforcement against a street address than with a band whose location isn't fixed, has few assets, and can scatter to the winds).

The other question is how to link receipt and payment. In many locations, Internet access is sufficiently concentrated (often monopolized) that tying major providers into the scheme might work. Access bundles could be tied to your Internet subscription, possibly with tiers of service or credits available for content. This removes the problem of subscribing individually to different source publishers, though it could drive up the cost of Internet access.

Another approach would require more government involvement, essentially an income- or wealth-indexed content tax (addressing the "ability to pay" scenario). Collections are based on payment ability, _distribution_ is based on actual access and utilization.

There are a lot of thorny details, and the question of whether or not there's a process path from the present system to something resembling what I'm suggesting is very much unsettled.

Using my preferred reference for economic data, xkcd's "Money" chart, the total size of the US arts and entertainment industry is $528 billion, where the publishing industry is $152 billion. Estimating online access as, say, 20% of this (which I freely admit was pulled from /dev/ass), works out to about $100 per person annually, which isn't too outrageous a number. Reality might scale up or down from this a ways.

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