New Study: TimesSelect Still Sucks

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A new study examines the impact of online content on the market for news. Surprisingly, things seem to be going pretty well:

Assuming that substitution patterns for newspapers in the Washington DC market are broadly representative of substitution patterns elsewhere, the advent of online newspapers does not appear to threaten the survival of print media. …The welfare benefits of the online newspaper appear to outweigh its costs. Consumers gain $45 million a year from free provision of the online paper, and although the firm appeared to suffer a net loss during the 2000-2003 period, an improved advertising market means that the current annual effect on firm profits is probably positive.

The author flirts with the idea of charging for online content, but notes that though firms "could have increased profits by charging a positive price for online content" in the 2000-2003 era, "the potential gain is virtually eliminated at current advertising levels, and would disappear with a small transaction cost of online payments."

The study looks at the dynamics between the Washington Post, the Washington TImes, and washingtonpost.com, but as far as I'm concerned, the real take-home lesson here is: Free TimesSelect!

NEXT: British Libel Law Relaxed

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  1. Is Washington D.C. a typical news market? I imagine there are a lot more political news junkees there, and more public transport riders there than in a lot of other markets.

    A bit ironic that the study is posted on pay-to-view website.

  2. Since TimesSelect, Catherine Zeta Jones look-alike, Maureen Dowd, and moi have sort of grown apart. sniff.
    Luckily for her, absence makes my heart grow fonder.

  3. I used to read Thomas “Flat World” Friedman, until he was imprisoned in Times Select. Oh well.

  4. The Friedman podcast is still free, don’t have the URL offhand, but it makes for decent listening during the commute..

  5. The plain fact is that TimesSelect has made
    their high priced stable of liberal writers far less influential across the country. There used to be a time when Friedman, Dowd, Krugman, Kristoff would be read and impact the political dialogue. David Brooks still does his Friday schtick on the NewsHour. He occasionally makes
    a point but usually is drowned out by the silly liberal rants of Mark Shields. I am not sure that these people get the Internet and how their time as opinion makers is diminishing daily.

  6. The plain fact is that TimesSelect has made
    their high priced stable of liberal writers far less influential across the country. There used to be a time when Friedman, Dowd, Krugman, Kristoff would be read and impact the political dialogue. David Brooks still does his Friday schtick on the NewsHour. He occasionally makes
    a point but usually is drowned out by the silly liberal rants of Mark Shields. I am not sure that these people get the Internet and how their time as opinion makers is diminishing daily.

  7. The plain fact is that TimesSelect has made
    their high priced stable of liberal writers far less influential across the country. There used to be a time when Friedman, Dowd, Krugman, Kristoff would be read and impact the political dialogue. David Brooks still does his Friday schtick on the NewsHour. He occasionally makes
    a point but usually is drowned out by the silly liberal rants of Mark Shields. I am not sure that these people get the Internet and how their time as opinion makers is diminishing daily.

  8. TimesSelect has made their high priced stable of liberal writers far less influential across the country.

    Quite likely. I get the Sunday Times delivered and so have access to TimesSelect, but since the NYT redesigned their website last spring, the op-ed pieces are less visible, and honestly most days I forget they’re even there. I try to remember to read John Tierney, but I usually don’t. So they’re losing readers that way, too.

  9. I noticed that the free, on-line content in my local papers (The Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times) seems harder to navigate. Could this be intentional?

  10. Harder to navigate than any previous iterations of either paper, that is. And the difficult-to-navigate change seemed to happen at about the same time for each site.

  11. I think you are misunderstanding the purpose of Times Select. It has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with snobbery. It takes spectacular ego to think that your opinions are worth money while news is not. (Think: ‘Everybody has one’ ‘Opinions are free’, etc.)

    This is fundamentally no different from Marty Peretz losing money on TNR for 20 years…

  12. After the advent of radio, many baseball team owners refused to allow radio play-by-play from their ballparks, thinking it would discourage fans from paying to see games in person. But radio actually spread the popularity of baseball.

  13. Retired political junkie.Up a 6am.hit the pc before making coffee.I live in Nassau so check Newsday first for anything local.Previous to Times Select would hit the NYtimes and then Washingtonpost.Now I go directly to the Washingtonpost and then the blogs.Missed all my favorites at the start Dowd Rich Brooks but out of sight out of mind.On a fixed income in Nassau property and school taxes are killing me.So Times Select is out of the question.

  14. Retired political junkie.Up a 6am.hit the pc before making coffee.I live in Nassau so check Newsday first for anything local.Previous to Times Select would hit the NYtimes and then Washingtonpost.Now I go directly to the Washingtonpost and then the blogs.Missed all my favorites at the start Dowd Rich Brooks but out of sight out of mind.On a fixed income in Nassau property and school taxes are killing me.So Times Select is out of the question.

  15. Retired political junkie.Up a 6am.hit the pc before making coffee.I live in Nassau so check Newsday first for anything local.Previous to Times Select would hit the NYtimes and then Washingtonpost.Now I go directly to the Washingtonpost and then the blogs.Missed all my favorites at the start Dowd Rich Brooks but out of sight out of mind.On a fixed income in Nassau property and school taxes are killing me.So Times Select is out of the question.

  16. The St. Petersberg Times web site looks like it uses the same system as the San Jose Mercury News web site. I think it’s just bad design rather than anything intentional. Just like Hit and Run’s servers.

    [attempt to post this comment #3]

  17. Mike, I wasn’t serious about the intentional obfuscation of information accusation, but it really irked me when the Times and the Trib made the same silly change at the same time. It used to be that you could easily find anything that was in the print edition on-line. Now all you can get to without a lot of effort are the main articles. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d prefer a new format.

  18. After the advent of radio, many baseball team owners refused to allow radio play-by-play from their ballparks, thinking it would discourage fans from paying to see games in person. But radio actually spread the popularity of baseball.

    There’s no proof of that.

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