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The Grass is Always Greener...

John Federico

Subscription or Free? Free or Subscription? That's the basic question that both the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are asking according to a Reuters article. (via MarketingVox)

The Times is considering offering more or all of its content on a subscription basis. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger is concerned that "...we're training an entire generation of readers to get quality information for free. That's troubling."

The Journal on the other hand, is concerned that their subscription based model could limit their potential for ad dollars. For instance, The Times has a audience that is 20 times the size of The Journal which The Times can turn into significant advertising revenue now that the advertising market is coming back.

As a loyal subscriber of the Journal online, I think the advertising model that The Times is using is more effective in terms of reach.

A closed publishing system limits your reach - especially in the landscape of search and blogs, which is a self-feeding system. Open publishing of news content begets blog posts which beget links which improves your PageRank, which creates more links, which provides more ad inventory, etc.

Of course, if The Journal moves to an open model, that gives me an additional $6.95 each month to spend at the iTunes Music Store... ;)