The New York Times Media Group announced today that it will strengthen the pay wall at NYTimes.com by cutting the number of free articles per viewer to 10 from 20 free articles a month starting in April.
Starting then, users will be blocked from further content after the limit is reached (aside from homepage material) and asked to become digital subscribers.
Linda Zebian, corporate communications manager at the New York Times Media Group, told ABC News that the change will be minimal as the number of Times’ nonsubscribers that read more than 10 articles but less than 20 is small.
“We expect it to have minimal impact on traffic and our content will still be accessible through searches and third-party providers,” Zebian said. She added that the company believes that 10 articles a month with free access to the homepage struck a better balance.
“It provides us the opportunity to convince another segment of our audience that the Times provides journalism worth paying for,” she said.
The company added 454,000 paid subscribers to its digital media packages over the past year. To mark the first anniversary, the Times will offer a free 12-week subscription to the NYTimes.com + Smartphone Apps package to a non-subscribing friend or family member of current subscribers.
The Times has struggled with the migration from print that has accelerated with the success of Apple’s iPad and other digital reading devices. Its shares have slid from over $25 in 2007 to $6.89 today and are down 27 percent in the last year. The company had net losses of $40.2 million last year.